Partner rather than compete with existing players

Corporate travel management platform Serko Online is demonstrating how disruption can involve partnerships with existing businesses rather than trying to compete with established players.

Corporate travel management platform Serko Online is demonstrating how disruption can involve partnerships with existing businesses rather than trying to compete with established players.

Serko Online, which is listed on the New Zealand stock exchange and has plans to list on the ASX this year, is a corporate travel management platform and mobile app that provides a range of services for business travellers, including itinerary and expenses management, travel bookings and even baggage tracking.

The company recently announced partnerships with online travel comparison sites Expedia, Wotif and Booking.com to expand its service offering into providing a ‘best rate of the day’ function for hotel bookings.

Rather than compete against these established players, Serko partnered with the well-known entities of the leisure travel space to harness their content and expand their service offering to corporate travellers.

“A competitive hotel marketplace will offer more value for business,” said the company’s co-founder and CEO, Darrin Grafton.

“Based on personal preferences and corporate travel policy, the ‘Best Rate of the Day’ feature will ensure you’re getting the best rate with every search.

“The whole trip can be booked in Serko Online, giving businesses visibility of where their staff are staying.”

Mr Grafton said such transparency for corporate travel has never been more important, given the need for companies to maintain the safety of their employees – from disaster recovery to managing more everyday events such as flight cancellations or delays.

Far from being in competition with corporate travel agencies, Mr Grafton said Serko has in effect formed a mutually beneficial partnership with the industry.

“By putting technology in that could bring more transactional volume […] it sort of made sense to them, and it made the transaction more profitable for them. The same number of staff could potentially increase their turnover by three to four times,” he said.

“So it became a sort of mutual partnership, where we were doing the technology and the travel agency was doing the selling.”

Read the full story with Serko Online CEO Darrin Grafton in the April issue of My Business magazine.

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