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Business travel is different from standard consumer travel and it has differing requirements. However, due to outdated tools, poor customer service and profit-oriented services, corporate travel can be a daunting experience. But, it doesn’t have to be that way as the Barcelona-based startup TravelPerk has come up with a solution to this problem. The company offers a consumer-grade travel booking experience, which is tailored for businesses and it has now raised €92.3 million in Series C round of funding.
The same investors which participated in the first part of the round announced in October 2018 have again taken part in Series C extension. The investors include Kinnevik, Partners of DST Global, Target Global, Felix Capital, Sunstone, and LocalGlobe.
Avi Meir is the CEO and Co-founder of TravelPerk and he tells us how the company differentiates itself from the competition, what are the major challenges and more.
How TravelPerk stands out from the competition
Corporate travel can turn into a nightmare because of the way traditional corporate travel agents operate. However, Meir says that TravelPerk is different since the company offers the world’s biggest bookable travel inventory that is built for business. It enables reporting, managing, optimising, analysing, invoicing and more, all in one place. In addition, a corporate traveller can select from low-cost airlines, Airbnb, trains, car rental, or virtually anything they would like.
Traditional business travel agents not only provide limited options, but their customer service can be sub-par as well. TravelPerk turns this around with its dedicated in-house support team, which is said to go above and beyond “to provide 7-star service and get you where you need to be when you need to be there and back again.”
Revolutionise the business travel industry forever
Changing an entire sector or an industry is no easy feat. It often requires groundbreaking ideas and genuine hard work to implement them. Meir believes TravelPerk is already doing that by offering business and consumer travel inventory in the same space, which creates a one-stop-shop solution for business travel that includes the company’s in-house support team. With the latest round of funding, TravelPerk is all set to introduce new products to business travellers, which are apparently not inspired by the leisure travel industry.
Talking about challenges, Meir said, “there can be countless problems and challenges for a business operating in the corporate travel industry. TravelPerk deals with numerous suppliers across a range of platforms like airlines, hotels, car rental companies, train lines and more. However, that is not the only challenge here. The startup has to prepare for the possibility that anything can go wrong with every trip. For example, delayed flights, overbooked rooms or any other problem could pop up unannounced. Add to this the expectations of business like invoices, taxing systems, GDPR and VAT.”
Redefining the services in Europe
TravelPerk will be offering, developing and refining its services first in Europe. Meir believes there’s a great opportunity here with a business travel industry that’s worth more than €222.66 billion annually. Additionally, Europe is said to be impertinent globally since most companies that do business need a business travel provider with extensive inventory and expertise in Europe.
Meir also adds that Europ is a challenging market for business travel because of its fragmentation and to succeed here, one needs to offer a seamless experience that “adapts to the specific currency, language and tax requirements of a traveller’s home and destination countries.” This is on top of an exhaustive inventory of flights, trains, car hire and accommodation.
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