GetThere, Sabre’s travel management solution, is the latest travel company to target the small to medium-sized business travel market, offering a new package of options for North American companies with 500 to 5,000 employees and less than $5 million in annual travel expenses.
It also is offering an upfront referral fee of $1,500 to $12,000 to travel agencies that bring in new customers for the solution.
GetThere’s move follows announcements in recent weeks by FCm Travel Solutions and American Express Business Travel that they are targeting the market with new service offerings.
The recession has spurred a new appetite within the market for additional control over travel expenditures. Travel managers at small to medium-sized companies who keep up with travel industry trends are taking ideas for additional cost containment opportunities to their chief financial officers.
Chris Kroeger, president of GetThere, said there also has been an evolution from “travel decision management” to “travel collaboration management” over the last year.
New powerful communications tools, such as Sabre’s Cubeless social networking platform, allow companies and their traveling employees to determine not just how often they travel but whether they will make the trip at all, he said.
The new GetThere service will provide small to medium-sized companies a toolkit that will “facilitate smart choices when it comes to travel and collaboration purchases,” Kroeger said.
GetThere is putting additional human resources into the market on both the sales and technology sides. It has hired a new team of sales people to focus on smaller companies, and it is providing technical support directly to the corporate customer.
However, it stressed that it is working in collaboration with travel agencies.
The new GetThere service teams will provide the technical support so that the agency can focus on service and fulfillment. Direct support generally results in increased adoption, which boosts performance with preferred suppliers for both the agency and its corporate client.
The new package combines travel booking, meeting and networking solutions, with optional add-ons for expense management and consulting services.
The graphical interface is modeled after Travelocity’s travel shopping experience.
Travel policy tools guide the correct travel shopping behavior, including clearly marked “company-preferred” and “out-of-policy” options
Connectivity technologies link the company with its travel agency for fulfillment.
The package also facilitates the use of non-travel alternatives like Webcasts and video conferencing.
The meetings services include online attendee registration, property and site searches that follow corporate policy and air fare and guest room cost estimators and comparisons.
Social networking tools, housed securely behind the firewall, allow geographically dispersed employees to share knowledge across time zones.
They also provide access to business information, resources, answers to employees’ questions and integrated travel itinerary information.