Skift Take

Serko made its first moves into the U.S. about a year ago, but the company still has a long way to go before it it is established in the North American market. Its newest partnership with Booking Holdings should help it become a global company.

New Zealand-based expense management company Serko has undergone some big changes over the past year and a half. The company in 2018 launched Zeno, its comprehensive booking app powered by artificial intelligence, emphasizing tech features and user experience. A few months later, the startup brought Zeno to the United States, and Serko nearly doubled its headcount in May.

The company is now emphasizing its global expansion, seeking to sink its roots deeper into North America and continental Europe. The travel management platform is employing a partnership strategy, signing agreements with key players such as CWT and Flight Centre to expand its inventory and reach new markets.

Most recently, the company expanded its agreement with Booking Holdings, which Serko CEO Darrin Grafton views as proof of Zeno’s viability as a global product. Both at home and abroad, the number of Zeno customers has been steadily increasing, the company reported in an earnings release Wednesday.

Read this story, and many more, below.

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Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

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Expense Manager Serko Accelerates Global Expansion With Partnership: Now that Zeno is well-established in Serko’s home market, the next step is to bring that same popularity abroad. The expense management company is forming partnerships with major players to help it gain traction in the U.S. and Europe. Starts Selling Competitors’ Flights via Partnership: It’s finally happened. is selling other airlines on its website and app. Powered by, it’s a start. Getting direct contracts with airlines is next. Should online travel agencies continue to doubt AirAsia’s foray into their turf? “Believe the unbelievable,” CEO Tony Fernandes said.

The Rise of Smart Airports: A Skift Deep Dive: After years of being stuck in the past, new “smart” airports are embracing technology and data to improve the experience for both passengers and vendors. But progress is still slow, widening the gap between cutting-edge and archaic facilities. What’s needed? More vision, less bureaucracy.

Did Swallow Kayak? No, It’s Just a Marketing Thing: may be a household name in Europe, but Kayak and OpenTable are far better known in the United States. Parent company Booking Holdings is touting the three companies’ ties to advantage in a way that might be a tad confusing to travel industry executives or NYU Hospitality students, but consumers could care less.

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Wizz Air Thinks It Has a Simplicity Advantage Over Ryanair: Ryanair’s decision to morph into a group airline has opened up plenty of opportunities, with the individual carriers able to operate differently. But is there a downside? For Wizz Air, it’s all about keeping things simple.

EDreams Adds Hotels to Prime Subscription Scheme: EDreams is certainly putting a lot of effort into its Prime subscription offering. The test will be how it goes down in other markets and how it performs over a number of years. Do the numbers stack up over the long term and will people keep renewing?

Travelio Raises $18 Million for Extended Stay Booking: Travel Startup Funding: Travel startups Travelio, Refundit, and Nowaday together announced more than $31 million in funding. Of particular note is Amadeus’ backing of Refundit. The startup offers visitors to European Union countries a mobile app to speed up their claims for rebates for value-added taxes paid on retail shopping.

Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: corporate travel, ctir, serko, travel management companies

Photo Credit: The Serko team in the company headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand. Serko