Hipmunk is an SAP company

OK, you got me. I did not see that coming.

Hipmunk, who were only formed in 2010, started making a name for themselves by winning at the Phocuswright travel innovation summit in 2011. It really shook the industry into realising how complacent it had become about the travel search user experience. Hipmunk decided to look at things differently and came up with a completely unique (at least at the time) user interface, based on graphical timelines, and a default sort order called “Agony” to manage the famously difficult problem of shopping for flights. Since then they have moved on at a perhaps more stately pace, but certainly carving out a distinctive niche for themselves in a crowded public flight search marketplace.

The Concur story is perhaps better known. Culminating in the giant of the Corporate T&E industry being bought by the giant of the ERP industry. As always with this type of acquisition there was plenty of speculation about the negative impact this would have on the ability to innovate (when elephants mate, they rarely produce a racehorse). But the solution to that innovation conundrum now seems to become much clearer. You just buy it.

Particularly if you take the direction Concur has in recent years, propounding, often to the dismay of TMCs and Travel Managers a kind of libertarian, anything goes, approach to corporate travel, it's easy to fit new and funky companies into your (barely connected anyway) eco-system.

The question now is whether, longer term, Concur will be hipmunk-ised or hipmunk will be SAPped. A space to be watched with interest. Certainly, following the KDS AGBT announcement, industry consolidation does seem to be this seasons new “black”.

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