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Bringing ‘gamification’ to corporate travel

March 1, 2014

(Published in TTG – 11.02.14)

Matthew Parsons talks to Travelogix founder Chris Lewis about how current consumer trends can make travel managers’ lives easier

Capitalising on two of last year’s buzz words, gamification and big data, former Micros Travel sales manager Chris Lewis recently launched Travelogix to help corporate travel managers obtain
a better picture of spending.

Lewis says launching the product in July last year was a “natural choice”. “The timing was right. I’ve worked in IT and have a lot of experience working with TMCs. And in 2011, when everyone started talking about data, I realised data systems were playing second fiddle to back office systems. We’ve hit the big data curve at the right time, and this is big data for SMEs.”

Travelogix launched a new tool, Analytix, an interactive reporting system, at last week’s Travel Technology Europe event. It takes booking data from different sources, such as GDSs, and places it into a graphical interface, because “travel managers don’t want to sift through pages and pages of Excel sheets or PDFs”, according to Lewis.

To ensure travellers are keeping within policy, charts are able to display how much departments, or specific travellers, are spending.

One feature called “Tripscore” acts as a league table. Travellers who book early, for example, could earn 100 points. Leaderboards are more common in sales departments, to motivate staff, but this type of gamification (the principle of applying game mechanics to non-game environments, to motivate people and change behaviour) could lead to travel managers becoming more engaged.

Lewis says filters could be set up to help travel managers spot “the renegade travellers” – those who are over-spending. “You can also see peaks in spend, for example you might identify £20,000 of mis-savings. In real time, you can see who’s spending too much.

“We’re adding value to agency offering, and it gives the travel manager the control,” he adds. “It’s a gamification model. It’s similar to LinkedIn. When you see that bar that says your profile is only 80% complete – it makes you want to complete it.”

Lewis says he believes that currently his system is unique in the marketplace. However, both Sabre and Carlson Wagonlit have made inroads into this area.

Business model

The set-up fee for installing Travelogix can range from £3,000 to £5,000, with a user licence from £150 a month. As well as using it themselves, TMCs could overbrand Travelogix and licence it out to their clients. To date, Travelogix has had a healthy start. It has been working with sister company Quorn Business Travel since July last year, and its sister company Meon Valley Travel since December.

Other customers include Thorntons Business Travel, Hotelshopuk.com – which is launching a TMC division in March – and Lewis says he has recently signed up Axa and Directline.

Meanwhile, The Co-operative Travel Management will use Analytix from March (where it will be branded “Go2 Insight”).

Lewis’s team of four, based in Altrincham, are focusing on the corporate sector and already looking to expand: “There have been enquiries from South Africa and Europe. My international plan had been based over 24 months, but going on how the past six months have gone, it’s now 12 months.”

A mobile app will also be launched within the next 12 months. According to research firm Gartner, by the end of this year more than 70% of Global 2000 organisations (its annual ranking of the top 2,000 public companies) will have at least one “gamified” application.

And with the growing rise of Millennials in today’s workforce, gamification could prove to be the right technique to help organisations drive compliance.

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