bizEDGE NZ - SME travel booking options no longer up in the air

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SME travel booking options no longer up in the air

Until now, SMEs were getting the short end of the stick when it comes to travel booking, because they can't get access to purpose-built travel agent bookings. Serko says it's looking to close the gap.

Serko cites TNS Research, which found that there are 1 million SMEs in New Zealand and Australia. Of these, 46% travel regularly for work, averaging 30 trips a year and 6 hours spent coordinating each trip.

"Unlike corporates, small businesses don’t have access to purpose built travel management systems, so they have no option but to either pay a premium for travel agent bookings or internalise the time and administration associated with making bookings directly on supplier sites," says Darrin Grafton, Serko CEO.

Travel agents are the most popular booking method, with 33% of SMEs using it - along with its premium charge. 66& book through supplier or aggregation websites. Serko says this is a laborious process, considering the changes often made to 25-40% of business trips. This is why over one third of SMEs want improved booking processes.

"For a large portion of small and medium businesses travel is a flawed business process. SMEs can’t get access to the right technology due to the costs, or the types of deals that allow them to compete with their bigger counterparts on a level playing field. At Serko we think that is wrong, and we’re doing something about it," continues Grafton.

Serko plans to introduce its free serko.travel app later in July, which the company says will provide small businesses the same technology used by large corporates in New Zealand and Australia. The app will provide mobile access and a desktop portal, alongside customer support from leading travel agencies. It will also integrate with Xero's accounting software to consolidate travel expenditure.

"Not only will serko.travel give small businesses the ability to compare prices on air fares and hotels from all of the major supply sources like Expedia and Booking.com, ensuring that not only does every booking deliver on value, but they also save hours of administration and make it easier for them to meet their legal duty of care obligations," concludes Grafton.

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