< PrevNext > Tripism Share Even as corporate booking tool providers improve their products, the siren call of less-restrictive leisure booking tools pulls travelers out of their managed programs. To counter that, Tripism factors in not just corporate preferred suppliers and terms or just TripAdvisor-esque reviews but both. The booking interface pairs preferred suppliers with coworkers' feedback on properties, restaurants and the like. The result is an in-policy booking informed by a consumer eye. Founder Adam Kerr spoke with BTN's Michael B. Baker. What challenges does Tripism seek to resolve?We did some early research, and about 85 to 90 percent of business travelers use tools designed for the leisure traveler to piece together that business trip. They will look at their preferred hotel list for a given area and go to TripAdvisor or Booking.com to see what people say about those hotels or use tools like Yelp to find restaurants that might be suitable for them. That gives them a number of challenges. It's completely fragmented. You're reading reviews, and those sites pride themselves on infinite content, which is great if you're planning a vacation with your family and that's part of the experience and part of the discovery. But if I have to meet Ericsson at Bryant Park at 8 o'clock on Oct. 21, and I just want a hotel that's nearby and in the program and convenient for me, I don't want infinite content. I want specific information so I can make my decision. That's what Tripism does. We take data from lots of different places and we also take the knowledge and the reviews and tips from your coworkers, and we present that in a highly sophisticated and relevant way to the traveler. Rather than seeing infinite content, they can just see the information which we have for them to make a fast, good travel-planning decision.How do you determine those decisions?We work with the customer, so we take information from them like their office location, and put in those hotel suppliers. We can also look at their expense data and see what are the most frequented restaurants in this specific area. From doing that, you're benefiting from the corporate card usage from people who live in that city, so the expertise locally and the kind of research other travelers have done. We have partnerships. We work with people like American Express corporate card and Dinova, the preferred restaurant provider, so when a user logs in and needs information about a specific destination, we can present it to the traveler so they can make the right decision.What role does traveler feedback play in those decisions?Travel buyers do a fantastic job building relationships with their travel suppliers [with] partial information. They have information about number of nights stayed or number of dollars spent, but they don't have quality of service or feedback from their travelers. We enable a very simple way for travelers to quickly and easily give feedback that is helpful for their coworkers to make their decision. If someone I know has recommended a hotel near Bryant Park, that's an easy decision for me because I trust them. We also do analysis on those reviews and can provide them back to the travel managers, which they can use to provide constructive feedback to their suppliers and drive continual improvement to the performance of their travel suppliers.That feedback is visible only to the buyer, not the supplier, correct?Correct, though we have what we call a supplier portal and some companies would like us to engage with their suppliers and give them access to the portal. That enables [suppliers] to provide very rich content, which is specific for business travelers, and they can also create negotiated benefits or specific unique promotions just for travelers from that company. If I'm a traveler from Company X, when I log in, the content I see is the content only meant for users of that company. As part of that, they are happy for us to provide anonymized reviews back to the travel supplier. I can see it's a traveler from Company X. I can't see who it is, but I can see what they said. [Consider a hotel that invests] a tremendous amount of money in a property and [tries] to provide the very best service to travelers from this company. [They've] negotiated fantastic benefits for travelers from that company, but when travelers from that company look at the booking tool, it's so unsophisticated because the GDSs are so restrictive in the amount of information that can pass through. They are perceived to be exactly the same as the property across the road, which hasn't been refurbished in 20 years and provides very little in additional value to travelers. With our platform, they can present themselves in a fantastic way and can present those negotiated benefits clearly to the travelers. It's great for the traveler because I get more benefits and visibility of unique promotions.How would Tripism improve compliance versus a standard corporate booking tool?Eighty-five percent of travelers are completely unaware of negotiated benefits from preferred suppliers because they can't see it anywhere. This platform enables them to do more and provide more benefits to the traveler. Travel suppliers frequently want to enable special promotions for travelers from different companies, but they have no means of being able to do it. They can either put a PDF on the Internet, where it's not read or [it's] forgotten about, or they can email 20,000 travelers, of which it might only be relevant for 100. With Tripism, say they have a trip for August in Chicago. We can show them where the office is located, which of the preferred hotels is nearby, what travelers and coworkers say about the hotel, the unique benefits negotiated and any promotions applicable for that location at the time they are traveling. It's just a much better way of presenting information to the travelers.How many buyers are you working with so far? With the platform, we work with 20 or so [small and midsize enterprises] in Europe, but now our focus is around the larger corporate. We've announced that we will work with Microsoft on a global basis. In the next quarter, we'll be going live with another two large corporations, and we'll leverage that to bring on more through the early part of next year.