Travel news for the trade community

Startup that lets multiple travel groups meet halfway hailed in 2018 Business Travel Show

Group trip organisers and business travellers in multinational organisations can now breathe easier thanks to a new platform where they can plan multi-origin group travel for face-to-face meetings.

After six-way ‘battle of the start-ups’ in this year’s Business Travel Show (BTS) Launchpad, TroopTravel has emerged the grand prize winner of the 2018 Business Travel Disrupt Awards.

Officially listed in Spain, TroopTravel assists group travel organisers with an algorithm that combines big data and machine learning capabilities. The algorithm integrates visa requirements, ease of travel, fees, and other factors when recommending the best possible combination of price and travel time for each potential meeting location.

The metasearch engine also facilitates side-by-side comparison of up to 30 meeting locations. By keying in each group’s point of origin and the communal travel date, trip planners can see where they can save on cost and travel time.

But the TroopTravel blog argues that its most important function is to ‘increase collective happiness’ by allowing executives and employees alike to build trust with each other through informal discussions and face-to-face conversations. It says that increased face time and co-working activities lead to increased creative synergy, translating to higher employee productivity. It also professes that this connection makes it easier for corporates to manage information flow and distribution.

TroopTravel has presented case studies showing how its services work for groups of colleagues or friends who are spread across different locations. It indicates that it has agreements with leading references in the travel industry to give trip planners the security of booking with companies they know.

Meeting great expectations

“A lot of innovation in the travel space is about evolution not revolution — solutions that tinker at the edge of the market” — BTS Launchpad 2018 chair judge Nick Easen

The Launchpad judging panel, which included Buying Business Travel digital editor Molly Dyson, Business Travel iQ community & content manager Amanda Greenwood, and business travel buyer Nikki Rogan, was impressed by this year’s crop of winners. Predictive flight delay start-up Flightsayer took second place while AI-powered online hotel booking start-up Arbitrip entered third.

“The top three showed true disruptive qualities, showing some real innovation that could have a profound effect on the business travel space,” chair judge Nick Easen commented.

Business Travel Show portfolio director David Chapple (2nd from left) with TroopTravel executives (L-R) Dennis Vilovic, Leonard Cremer and Rhyno Janse van Rensburg

“It’s great to get recognition from BTS, especially given that we’re still a young start-up and the other five start-ups in the final are all amazing,” Leonard Cremer, one of three TroopTravel co-founders (third from left in above photo) said after receiving the award from BTS portfolio director David Chapple.

“We came to the show for the change to talk to potential customers and partners directly and it’s been really exciting. It means a lot to us to be appreciated and applauded for something we believe in so strongly,” added the South Africa-based co-founder.

Also part of the 2018 panel of judges was Gili Lichtman, co-founder and sales VP of FairFly. As last year’s Business Travel Disrupt Award winner, here’s what she had to say about TroopTravel: “Being at the Business Travel Show, and then winning the Disrupt Award, gave FairFly great exposure and helped us establish many meaningful customer relationships as well as fruitful industry partnerships. We hope that TroopTravel benefits in the same way and we look forward to seeing them bigger and better than ever.”

TroopTravel won a free exhibition stand at next year’s Business Travel Show worth GBP 8,000 (around US$11,200), plus free exposure to over 7,500 industry professionals.

BTS introduced Launchpad in 2016 to provide a free platform for new business travel ventures to showcase their travel tech products and solutions.

The other finalists included Gaest.com, a Northern Europe online marketplace for listing, discovering and booking unique meeting spaces; Amaze, a back-office solution that helps to improve visibility over business travel spending; and Wizme, an end-to-end system that brings complete transparency, control and order in all meetings space and venue hire activities across the entire organisation.

TroopTravel corporate platform
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