The T&E Exclusive Club

Traveldoo is one of a select group of companies that have been proposing a full Travel-and-Expense value proposition for many years. While it’s sometimes daunting to see new competitors getting into the space (the largest recent one being Amadeus through it’s purchase of cytric) it’s also reassuring as it’s a confirmation that the bet we took, was the right one. Even so, the club remains small. If you don’t want Concur, and they have become the IBM of our age (“no-one ever got fired for choosing IBM”), your list of alternatives is pretty limited. Why so?

Part of the answer becomes clearer when you look at the competition at the reduced scope of either travel or expense. In expense, we see a healthy range of companies, both established and new entrants, often leveraging the quick-to-market route offered by mobile and the stripped down offering that meets the expectations of mobile users. Expense management also benefits from being quite a “contained” system. Integrations are on offer to import data from suppliers or export data to ERPs but most of the activity of creating an expense claim all happens within the system itself.

This contrasts with Travel self-booking technologies where every trip requires integration to and interactions with a multiple content providers, GDS, rail companies, Low-cost carriers, hotel CRS’s etc. The barrier to entry to have a competent working system in travel is thus much higher in Travel than in Expense.

Once you throw in the localisation complexity that comes with trying to service organisations with operations in multiple countries, the picture of why it’s tough for people to target directly the T&E space becomes clearer. In addition, having the ambition to work with the biggest, most lucrative, prestigious clients means addressing the needs of travel managers and procurement professionals who want to implement very advanced logic and workflows to control spend.

This is the picture of where the bar is today for companies considering getting into the Global T&E space. It’s a long haul to catch-up with those of us who have been accumulating capabilities for a decade or more and an explanation of why we don’t see too many start-ups with T&E as their business plan.

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