Smaller players in the expense management marketplace are gearing up to take on Concur despite Concur's commanding lead in the sector.
The Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report is our weekly newsletter focused on the future of corporate travel, the big fault lines of disruption for travel managers and buyers, the innovations emerging from the sector, and the changing business traveler habits that are upending how corporate travel is packaged, bought, and sold.
Some big news in the expense management space this week, featuring a major rollup of smaller players aimed at taking down big dog Concur.
Certify, Nexonia, Tallie, and ExpenseWatch will merge after being acquired in a $125 million equity investment by K1 Investment Management, a private equity fund that targets software and technology companies.
“This deal is all about bringing the best expense management products to the most users everywhere in the world,” said Robert Neveu, CEO of Certify. “We’re now in a much stronger position to develop products and serve customers in the U.S., Canada, and internationally. I would expect us to continue growing organically and through acquisition as we move to overtake Concur as the world’s largest expense management software vendor.”
The combined organization will serve about 7,500 clients; Concur has more than 36,000 clients worldwide. Concur also offers travel booking and management services along with its expense product. So while the deal would make this new group the second largest expense services provider, it still has a lot of room to grow before it’s a concrete threat to Concur’s market share.
Concur, in a statement, said it is unfazed by the news.
“As a company with more than 36,000 customers in more than 150 countries, our clients are our north star and only Concur enables you to integrate your travel and expense ecosystem to manage today’s corporate travel challenges,” they wrote. “Travel and expense is the second largest controllable expense, behind payroll, and businesses are embracing solutions that help them achieve cost savings and improve budget forecasting.”
Concur also has the muscle of software-as-a-service giant SAP behind it as the parent company. But in a space where smaller companies can offer more targeted solutions to clients than Concur can, there is plenty of room for innovation and growth.
You come at the king, you’d best not miss.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Writer
Social Quote of the Day
I love google photos and I support google photos but google photos just made me a video of pictures of my receipts from a work trip @socarolinesays
Business of Buying
United Says Customers May Dislike Basic Economy But They’re Buying It: What have we learned from this investor conference? Americans are cheap. Some travelers probably do win when buying these fares, but United says as many as 40 percent of customers are choosing them. Surely, some don’t know what they’re buying. Read more at Skift
Marriott Joins Competitors in Extending Cancellation Deadline From 24 to 48 Hours: Travelers won’t be happy about Marriott’s new cancellation policy but investors and operators will. Read more at Skift
Qatar Airways Plans Legal Action Over Diplomatic Spat: This is a mess for Qatar Airways, which is being denied access to airspace that should probably be open under international law. But it doesn’t sound like the conflict will be resolved any time soon. Read more at Skift
The Low-Cost, Long-Haul Carrier Revolution In 3 Charts: The low-cost, long-haul revolution is only just starting to take off. Will full-service carriers be able to adapt to this new reality or are we about to see a total realignment? Read more at Skift
Hyatt Plays Hardball With Expedia Over Contract Negotiations: Hyatt, like every other hotel company out there, wants to get better rates from online travel agencies like Expedia. But does it have the scale (and the muscle) to do it? Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
TSA Tries Using Checked-Luggage Scanner for Carry-Ons: Experimenting with technology that is usually used for scanning checked luggage on carry-ons instead is one way the TSA is working to increase security without a laptop ban on international flights. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
What the Growing Market for Luxury Goods Tells the Travel Industry: There’s good and bad in this report. Spending will continue, of course, but it is shifting into new markets and leaving some legacy markets in the lurch. Read more at Skift
Uber CEO Resigns Following Leadership Crisis He Created: The thinking behind Uber has had a transformative effect on transportation in major cities around the world. But the disruption it created relied on tactics and a mentality that was the polar opposite of the progressive, groundbreaking business it wished to be seen as. The question isn’t can it maintain its valuation without Kalanick, but how long it would have survived at these heights under any circumstance. Read more at Skift
TrustYou Acquired as User-Generated Reviews Sector Heats Up: TrustYou’s hotel clients have remained relatively modest in scale as the company has grown. Perhaps it will be able to attract bigger brands, and more companies based in Asia, with a more robust global presence. Read more at Skift
Buyers Are Trying to Cope With Global Security Risks: Low-risk destinations can become high-risk in a matter of hours, and corporate travel is figuring out how to cope. Read more at Buying Business Travel
Mobile Travel Bookings Will Reach 40 Percent of Online Sales in 2017: Enhanced mobile booking tools and merchandising are resonating with consumers. As it gets easier to book on your phone, mobile could overtake traditional computer bookings as the most popular way U.S. travelers plan and book their trips. Read more at Skift
Free Daily Newsletter
Sign up for the most popular Skift daily download of news, happening, and headlines in the travel world
Photo credit: Four expense management companies have teamed up to take on Concur. Pictured is a restaurant in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Bill Dickinson / Flickr