Business expense and travel management company Concur has announced some new partnerships that should enable users to better manage expenses across a wider range of businesses. Those partnerships, with startups Airbnb and Uber, are designed to put it in a better position as the world of business travel changes.
Integrating with those companies isn’t just about appealing to a new set of business travelers. It’s about getting ahead of the curve as the business travel market begins to catch up to changes already happening in the consumer market.
“If you look at the transformation happening in consumer travel, those things haven’t translated to business travel,” according to Mike Hilton, EVP and GM of Concur. “There’s a disconnect with how companies think and what’s really happening in the travel space.”
On the Airbnb side, Concur partnered with it to help the hospitality capture more of the business market. It’s doing that through an integration with Concur’s TripLink offering that will enable users booking Airbnb reservations to have their travel and expense information automatically imported into trip expense reports and available to their organization’s travel managers.
Concur did that integration after seeing a huge increase in the number of expenses that were being submitted from users on the peer-to-peer lodging platform. Hilton said growth in Airbnb rentals followed a broader shift from business users booking lodgings outside their companies’ online travel portals.
But there was still the issue of trust on the part of businesses, which weren’t ready to take a chance on Airbnb rentals when they’re a perception that they’re less safe than hotels.
Uber has also been growing fast on Concur’s expense platform. Hilton said the travel management company has seen 5x year-over-year growth in Uber ridership captured in Concur expense reports.
With that in mind, Concur will enable travelers to pay for their rides and have them automatically added to their expense reports. That will provide one more avenue for customers to find its service, following other partnerships — like one with Google to integrate hailing an Uber into Google Maps. More importantly for businesses, such a partnership would allow businesses to pool Uber fares and pay for them under a single account.
In both cases, Hilton said integrations were relatively easy and both should be up and running within the next few weeks or months. You can probably expect more announcements of the same type over the next few years as more consumers get comfortable with new travel options, and businesses are forced to follow them.