The ultimate KPI?

by Business Travel iQ | 14 March 2019

A new booking platform promises to finally get a grip on the ROI of business trips

For the past four years, the Business Travel Show has held its annual Disrupt Launchpad and Innovation awards aimed at finding the most creative and innovative disruptors in the business travel sector.

This year’s winner was TapTrip who we profiled in February. TapTrip styles itself as a “self-serve business travel and automated expenses solution for SMEs, bringing the personalisation and user experience of a service such as Spotify, Netflix or Amazon, to the business travel world”.

But another of the shortlisted finalists had a very interesting proposition indeed, one that might deliver on the Holy Grail for business travel managers – finding a true return no investment of a business trip.

SalesTrip was founded in 2017 by Richard Goodall and Manoj Ganapathy. Goodall is a tech investor while Ganapathy is a serial entrepreneur. The team includes former SAP Concur execs Eoin Landers and Matt Bray.

So what is SalesTrip?

SalesTrip is an “ROI-driven travel and expenses system” built on Salesforce, the world’s leading CRM system by market share (19.6% in 2017 according to IDC). Salesforce is the platform used by sales teams around the world to plan monitor and analyse their interactions with clients, both existing and prospects.

It offers booking, ticketing and expense management in a single platform.

So what? There are many others that do the same, not least SAP Concur where two of SalesTrip’s senior team worked previously.

It is the ROI piece that is most interesting. A few years ago many companies spent a lot of time and effort trying to calculate the ROI of a business trip. It proved a very challenging thing to do.

One of the key issues is calculating the value of an executive’s time. Do you count the amount of time they took to book the trip and their entire time out of the office? How do you work out the cost of their time? Is it just their annual salary divided by their official working hours? Do you include other costs and remuneration?

Many gave up at that point.

Then there was the even gnarlier problem of trying to work out which business trips led to winning the deal. Any sales person will tell you that it is often hard to pinpoint a single meeting that led directly to the deal. The deal may have been signed in a single session but it may have been the result of several previous meetings, often stretching back years.

Most of the rest gave up trying to work that out.

This is why SalesTrip’s proposition is so interesting. Bookings made through the system are linked to specific meetings and travel costs are allocated to business reasons and tracked against quota, revenue and billing.

SalesTrip is not perfect – it didn’t win over all of the judges of the Disrupt Awards for example. Yet it is a powerful idea, linking revenue and costs in a very clever way.

As travel programmes become more mature, many travel managers move away from just cutting costs and start thinking more strategically. A tool that gives travel buyers a strategic in to the C-suite could be just what is needed.

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