The Company Dime about our Individual Online Booking Tool for Travel

The Company Dime about our Individual Online Booking Tool for Travel

Recently, The Company Dime – an online travel magazine with news and analysis about business travel services, expense management practices and travel industry change – wrote about how our built-to-order Online Booking Tool (OBT) is optimizing the way corporate travel is managed today. But read about it for yourself:

Build Your Own Online Booking Tool

By Jay Campbell
Republished with permission from The Company Dime 
Aug. 13, 2015

It's not too often that a new corporate booking tool comes out. A global tool that entered the U.S. market a year ago from Pass Consulting now counts one of the world's largest financial services firms as a client.

Corporate customers may buy the Pass system in one of three categories. A basic version with little customization requires one week to install. Called Victor, it's designed for German-speaking markets. A more advanced version offers functions like authorization and reporting, with a three-week implementation. The large company business version offers significant customization and back-end integration. There's also a separate government version.

Pass describes the highly customizable version as "a modular set of services and functions completed by a very potent rules engine. Our travel framework paves the way for your individually tailored corporate booking solution, creating individual software at the price of a standard software solution." Clients can "decide on the components you need" for the white-labeled booking tool.

Like established tools, the system offers standard trip planning, shopping and booking components. Optional add-ons include complex travel guidelines, unique file-finishing rules, individualized workflows, day-by-day contract optimization, travel arranger capabilities, custom approval processes and expense and HR integration. Content choices include Sabre (pending authorization for individual client installations), Amadeus, several low-cost carrier sources, rail companies and SilverRail. "Travelport (Apollo, Galileo, Worldspan) can be integrated upon request," according to Pass.

Pass is charging between $1.50 and $3.50 per booking, depending on volume. Alternatively, clients can host the software themselves and/or "pay for the technology rather than for each individual booking."

The software's modular approach allows it to interface which different skins. As such, the look and feel become a lightweight and swappable element.

"We already have a certain number of skins," said Pass Consulting CEO Michael Strauss. "We have it for German-speaking countries as Victor, we have it for the financial institution in their skin. Then we have it for a state [government] in Germany. It's easy to change the skin, so there's flexibility but not endless flexibility. If the client wants a totally different layout, we can do it but it takes longer."

Industry consultants welcomed the new entrant, but noted the company faces an uphill climb.

"It's good timing with the SAP-Concur consolidation," said Travel Consulted's Grant Caplan. "A lot of companies are starting to think about what else they can do."

Will Tate of GoldSpring Consulting said his clients haven't looked for a white-label solution. However, he said "the market does need a new online booking tool. The frustration people have had with service issues has created a real appetite. But it's difficult because it's a sticky application. And when it's linked through to expense, there's extra stickiness."

Pass is a 34-year-old IT, software and consulting firm headquartered in Frankfurt. It built the online booking tool starting in 2009 with help from German TMC and Lufthansa City Center affiliate Giller Reisen. The system uses the same framework as a predecessor agent desktop product. Pass stands ready to develop a mobile version in response to client demand. The financial services customer hasn't yet engaged on mobile due to internal policy changes, Strauss said.

Pass Consulting's XML connectivity shares a common origin with the International Air Transport Association's NDC program. Strauss said that means the booking tool can easily adapt NDC-compliant application programming interface. This would help solve the problem of online booking tools accessing ancillary content.

Additional info: The Company Dime confirmed the name of the financial services company on the condition that it was not disclosed in this article. It's a former Concur Travel customer, according to Pass. Victor is derived from Virtual Corporate Travel Organizer. Pass has data centers in Miami and Aschaffenburg, Germany.