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The Business Trip of the Future Will Be Personalized Says Concur CEO


May 07, 2014 12:20 pm

Skift Take

Five years from now some of the personalized perks that Concur CEO Steve Singh envisions as part of the perfect trip will be taken for granted and second nature. We like our eggs scrambled, no cheese.

— Dennis Schaal

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Taxi Magic

Concur believes that the trip of the future will be highly personalized, with car rental companies such as Taxi Magic knowing the traveler's personal preferences and getting automatic notifications about itinerary changes. Taxi Magic

If corporate travel buzzwords and issues such as “compliance,” “duty of care,” and “cloud-based expense management solutions” leave you yearning for your afternoon nap, you just don’t view them like Concur CEO Steve Singh, who gets downright poetic and romantic when outlining his vision for “the perfect trip” and the “perfect expense report.”

Speaking during analyst day at Concur’s Fusion 2014 Client Conference in New Orleans May 6, Singh detailed what he believes to be the future of travel — and undoubtedly some of the capabilities he’s talking about are not far off.

If a business traveler misses a flight and takes a different one, then there should be software such as Concur’s own TripIt that would automatically notify the driver of the taxi or sedan when and where to pick up the traveler, Singh said.

Singh said when he’s on the road coffee and egg sandwiches in coffee shops are his staples. “I would like that to show up in my expense report automatically,” Singh said. “My sense is someday soon that is going to happen.”

The Concur CEO was pitching the company’s open-booking platform, which has signed on Marriott, Starwood, La Quinta, and AvisBudget, for example, enabling travelers to book their travels on the suppliers’ consumer sites while still enabling travelers to get corporate negotiated rates and their companies to track their bookings.

At least that’s supposed to be how it works in theory.

“We can personalize the travel experience around every individual, around every single company,” Singh contended, including hotels that should know the whims of travelers who may stay there “50 to 100 nights per year.”

On the car-rental front, Zipcar and other car rental companies should know customers’ favorite radio stations and destinations, and pre-program them in, while the booking should automatically flow into the traveler’s expense report, Singh said.

Getting poetic and emotional again, Singh referred to these types of actions as a “magical experience.”

Singh said Concur is investing in its open-booking platform to bring about the perfect trip of the future, arguing that the industry is “coalescing” around these ideas and Concur.

The perfect, personalized trip is definitely coming. Whether the industry is coalescing around Concur is another matter, and very much open to debate.

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