Construct of conducting business travel remains same post-covid too: Thiagarajan Rajagopalan, Tripeur

However non-essential and non-business impacting travel has been temporarily put on the back bench.

business travel, Tripeur, covid-19
Newer technologies are offering better products to deliver trackable and actionable insights combined with nimble user experience for companies that were otherwise leveraging an overworked manual high friction travel desk.

As businesses go digital each and every process is also undergoing a massive transformation with corporate travel being one major one. The corporate travel management startup helps companies optimize their travel ecosystem by transforming manual travel function to a unified platform experience for their executives through transparent control and insights. This includes integrating with human resource and finance systems to create and plan the entire trip – from requests and approvals to booking tickets. Tripeur is one such startup that aims to disrupt the way corporate travel has been managed so far.  Founded by Rajagopalan and Sajit Chacko in 2015, the Bengaluru-based company’s commercial operations were launched in mid-2017. Tripeur, which targets mid to large businesses, has clients including Udaan, Meesho, Sharechat, Siemens and Avendus. Tripeur expects its sales to grow ten-fold by December 2022, helped by increased adoption of technology by companies despite the ongoing pandemic. As COVID hit companies across sectors, most firms began cutting costs in their operations to save money, yet continued with travel plans. As a result, Tripeur, an automated platform that centralizes and makes travel less dependent on people, gained traction. It is also the only travel tech that is profitable. In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Thiagarajan Rajagopalan, Founder & CEO, Tripeur talked about business travel, trends and more. Excerpts:  

Why is it important to secure and organize your travel journeys?

Organizing one’s travel plan is important because:• You don’t want surprises during different legs of your journey. Eg waiting for the last minute to find flight fares to be high or flights being sold out or finding your hotel to be sold out or finding it tough to get a taxi for that important business meeting.Securing you journey is important because:• Revenue managers if airlines and hotels are busy optimizing the rates, thus making it dynamic. If you defer your travel plans chances are that you might end up spending higher.

Business travel in the post covid world.

Fundamentally the construct of conducting business travel remains the same post covid too. However non-essential and non-business impacting travel has been temporarily put on the back bench. This primarily to reduce the bottom line exposure to travel and also to reduce exposing many employees to the risk of an infection. Non-essential and non-business impacting meetings have shifted to video call. Now if this will become the new normal it would be interesting to look out for.

How has the narrative of travel completely changed in the last 2 years?

As I said, the overall construct of business travel remains the same; what has changed is the experience, the intelligence and access to content.As an example, more and more companies have started investing in systems to manage and control the travel function. Newer technologies are offering better products to deliver trackable and actionable insights combined with nimble user experience for companies that were otherwise leveraging an overworked manual high friction travel desk.

How can tech uplift the business travel segment?

The need to invest in travel technology is governed by what we call the 3 C’s – Control, Content and Cognizance.• Control: Users get control of the options, Managers get control of their budget and CFO’s get control of their compliance• Content: With API’s from various content aggregators, dependency on specific agencies are passed. Booking engines are now intelligent, deep and wide with their content access.• Cognizance: With inbuilt policies and tight integrations with systems, leakage and friction is eliminated. Systems now have the capability to log and highlight avenues to optimize. Integrated platform provides real time data on how, where and why travel spend is made.

Thiagarajan Rajagopalan, Founder & CEO, Tripeur 

Business Travel needs to be structured well ? How can it be done?

That is a very broad question. Let me take a dig at it though. Business travel is fundamentally an expense that impacts the bottom line of any P&L. Like any other major cost, there should be budgets, owners, tracking mechanisms and controls.

Today most of this is done post facto, once the money is spent. Structure can be implemented with adoption of technology that apart for giving controls on a real-time basis, also provides actionable insights. Moral of the story is “get out of the manual travel desk dependency and adopt intelligent technology”. For God’s sake, travel is one of you biggest cost!

What role does Tripeur play in organising any trip?

Tripeur is a cloud based, fully integrated business travel platform that integrates with adjoining HR and expense systems to provide a seamless experience of trip creation, approval, policy adherence, behaviour shaping, analytics for savings and compliance. Our product is built to offer a superior new age experience to all its users. eg. Average approval time on our system is under 5 mins, due to our Whatsapp integration. 95% of the transactions happen instantly on our system with immediate invoices and credit notes; 5% of the remaining transactions are train/tatkal/VISA etc., that carry a fixed TAT. We enjoy a “zero” reconciliation issue in over 2 million transactions done till now.

Our content is from all popular sources and we have deep integrations with most of the providers to get you the best available rates and content. We also integrate with third party vendors to create a seamless multi vendor experience platform.

Our support is a well oiled and process driven team function, that has seen under 0.3% service escalations in the last 4 years. Since offline transactions are less, our CSAT scores are very high with our customers. 30% of our customers have come via referral from our existing customers. Our integrations are with Whatsapp, Google, Microsoft, DarwinBox, Peoplestrong & Zoho. Open API’s to connect with other HR/Expense/Finance systems.

What are the basic unique services being offered by Tripeur?

• Tripeur is the only available solution that helps you configure, manage and control your travel budget at a cost centre level on a real time basis.• It is the only platform that allows all your offline travel vendors ( Cab Vendors etc.) to be attached onto the online platform for centralized invoice management and approved trip level reconciliation to identify and arrest late submitted invoice leakages.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.