Skift Take

Hello, modern world of corporate travel and expense management, where words such as “compliance” are unfriendly and strange. Hello as well to Western investors — such as Silicon Valley's Accel — that are starting to find the Asian market irresistible.

Here’s a thought: How appealing are the words “compliance” or “travel policy?” Zero appeal. They’re relics of traditional corporate travel and expense management and should have never entered the space at all.

In Asia, where millennials are now a huge chunk of road warriors, startups targeting them are using a different language. Instead of moaning a lack of compliance among corporate travelers with a travel policy, they herald the modern business travel experience. These forward-thinking companies achieve this through 24/7 customer support, machine learning and AI-driven personalization, a wide range of accommodation and flight choices at the best possible prices, hassle-free booking, and expense management reporting. Everything is so easy and seamless because business travel — as everyone in business knows — is hard enough.

The startup that can best combine these factors onto a single platform in the fastest time will dominate the market. Travelstop is priming itself to be a frontrunner, its focus veered toward Southeast Asia. Others want to have a handle on huge markets such as India, China, and Australia. Traditional players are fighting to remain relevant with technology, the big ones trying to get bigger by consolidating smaller players into their fold, such as BCD’s acquisition of Hitachi Travel Bureau, as Skift reported recently.

Why the attention on Asia-Pacific? It’s a $1.6 trillion market by 2020, according to the Global Business Travel Association. What’s more, this spending will double by 2025, accounting for 50 percent of global expenditure, from 40 percent today.

That’s very sexy. Why do you think Silicon Valley’s Accel, an early-stage investor in the likes of Facebook and Slack, has come knocking? Read the Travelstop article below.

— Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia Editor, [email protected], @RainiHamdi

Skift Stories and More Expert Insights

Travelstop co-founder and CEO Prashant Kirtane. Source: Travelstop

Venture Capital Giant Accel Invests in Travelstop in a Nod to Asia’s Business Travel Disruption: Asia’s corporate travel management startups have been rather quiet as of late. An Accel investment in Travelstop, which has also announced Traveloka as a new supply partner, will stir things up.

Agoda Dubbed ‘Hotel California’ in Asia as Hotel Suppliers Say They Can Never Leave: There appears to be a growing chorus of voices saying they are not able to completely delist themselves from Agoda, which begs the question why they want to do so in the first place.

UNESCO Could Have Helped Save Venice From Overtourism: Why Didn’t It? As Asia celebrates the inclusion of the region’s tourism gems such as India’s Jaipur and Myanmar’s Bagan into UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list, it’s worth reading this contrarian article by Skift Global Tourism Reporter Rosie Spinks, who uncovers the complexities of naming World Heritage sites in the age of mass tourism.

Thomas Cook Plans $940 Million Rescue With Fosun as Breakup Looms: The news isn’t great for shareholders, but it does offer some encouragement to employees and anyone who has booked a flight or holiday this summer.

Oyo Claims It Has Overtaken IHG as World’s Third Largest Chain: Oyo has been making upbeat announcements more than usual in the past few weeks. Is it building itself up toward an IPO or more funding, or is it fending off critics, skeptics, and issues in India and China?

Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [[email protected]] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Tags: agoda, asia,, oyo, skift asia weekly, thomas cook, travelstop, unesco

Photo credit: Singapore Changi Airport is shown here. Corporate travel management startup Travelstop, based in Singapore, has received funding from Silicon Valley-based Accel. Safdie Architects

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