In a ground-breaking move for open booking, Concur and Egencia announced a global partnership this morning to link Concur’s expense reporting platform and Egencia’s TMC services.
The deal brings the Concur Open Booking platform to Egencia’s corporate client base and could lure Open Booking users into the Egencia camp.
“This was too obvious an opportunity for us to ignore,” said Mark Hollyhead, senior vice president for Egencia Americas. “Business travelers want easy and they want simple. If you give them that kind of choice, it’s what they will choose.”
As described by Hollyhead, the combined product couldn't be get much simpler. The next time Egencia users log into their account, they will see a popup asking if they want to link to Concur Expense. Expense and Open Booking users will see a similar popup asking if they want to link to Egencia.
“The traveler will be able to connect their Concur and Egencia accounts with one click,” Hollyhead said. “That’s all there is to it on the traveler’s side. Once they do that one time, they will have a seamless process.”
The Concur Open Booking API will automatically prepopulate travelers’ Concur Expense report using data from Egencia bookings. Itinerary details, electronic receipts and credit card charges are all matched automatically.
Users who do not want to link their accounts, or who are not customers of both Egencia and Concur, can continue to use their current booking and expense reporting methods.
“This offers tremendous convenience to customers who use Egencia as their TMC,” said Michael Koetting, executive vice president of Supplier Management at Concur. “And it is an endorsement for us to grow our Open Booking platform.”
A partnership first
The partnership also marks the first time a major TMC has integrated, much less accepted, Concur’s Open Booking platform. Concur has had a private label arrangement with Amadeus for about two years, Koetting said, but this is the first time a major TMC has openly partnered with the Open Booking label.
Neither Koetting nor Hollyhead would comment on specific target markets. Hollyhead said Egencia did not go into the deal looking for specific growth targets. The immediate goal is to focus on the existing pool of joint customers. Egencia has about 10,000 corporate customers worldwide, and Concur has about 20,000.
“There is a material overlap with the Egencia customer base,” Koetting said. “Our initial target is those shared customers. This is about providing convenience to our mutual customers.”
It’s also about plugging gaps in the Open Booking platform. One of the weaknesses in Open Booking was the spotty coverage. Not all hotels and other suppliers had signed onto the program to automatically provide expense data.
If the combined product works as advertised, Concur can now pick up expense data from any supplier that works with Egencia, including suppliers that have not signed up with Open Booking. That kind of expanded coverage and ease of use could help bring more travelers into the open booking camp – and increase pressure on other TMCs to provide similar ease of use for travelers and ease of reporting for travel managers.