Business expense and travel management company Concur has announced some new partnerships that should enable users to better manage expenses across a wider range of businesses. Those partnerships, with startups Airbnb and Uber, are designed to put Concur in a better position as the world of business travel changes.
Integrating with those companies isn’t just about appealing to a new set of business travelers. It’s about getting ahead of the curve as the business travel market begins to catch up to changes already happening in the consumer market.
“If you look at the transformation happening in consumer travel, those things haven’t translated to business travel,” according to Mike Hilton, EVP and GM of Concur. He also says that there’s a disconnect with how companies think and what’s really happening in the travel space.
On the Airbnb side, Concur partnered with it to help the hospitality firm capture more of the business market. It’s doing that through an integration with Concur’s TripLink offering that will enable users booking Airbnb reservations to have their travel and expense information automatically imported into trip expense reports and available to their organization’s travel managers.
Concur made that integration after seeing a huge increase in the number of expenses that were being submitted from users on the peer-to-peer lodging platform. Hilton said growth in Airbnb rentals followed a broader shift from business users booking lodgings outside their companies’ online travel portals.
Uber has also been growing fast on Concur’s expense platform. Hilton said the travel management company has seen five times the year-over-year growth in Uber ridership captured in Concur expense reports.
With that in mind, Concur will enable travelers to pay for their rides and have them automatically added to their expense reports. That will provide one more avenue for customers to find its service. That follows other partnerships, such as one with Google, to integrate hailing an Uber into Google Maps. More importantly for businesses, such a partnership would allow businesses to pool Uber fares and pay for them under a single account.
In both cases, Hilton said integrations were relatively easy and both programs should be up and running within the next few weeks or months.
You can probably expect more announcements of this type over the next few years as more consumers get comfortable with new travel options, and businesses are forced to follow them. So far, the drive for newer and more lucrative markets has led to even more innovation through collaborations like these.
Do you have any thoughts on the way travel is changing – and how travel apps are following along? Leave your comments here!