Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Corporate Traveler roll out new SME travel platform

Flight Centre Travel Group’s Corporate Traveler has unveiled its latest booking and travel management platform geared towards small and medium-sized enterprises.

Named Melon, the platform will offer a traveler-facing booking system powered by booking technology specialists, WhereTo. There will be multi-source airline content aggregation, including both global distribution systems and New Distribution Capability from TPConnects (in which Flight Centre has a minority stake); hotel content piped in via an existing Flight Centre partnership with HotelHub; a chat-based travel support capabilities, which include both chatbots and human agents ensuring ‘instant availability’ as well as make use of a mobile itinerary management and messaging, that is featured in FCM’s Sam system.

Those with administrator access can view reports and dashboards on spend, traveler whereabouts, sustainability and other elements of program management. The platform can handle most administrative functions, like creating guest accounts, managing forms of payment, setting up pre-approval routings and managing preferred suppliers.

Enabling “a dedicated travel consultant per customer” and ensuring an end-to-end platform, Melon also features artificial intelligence-driven search capability that takes into account both prior traveler behavior and preferences as well as admin-set rules and spending restrictions and a manager-facing dashboard displaying spending and KPI metrics.

As barriers to international movement lift and companies resume travel programs, duty of care has been identified as a priority. Corporate Traveler addresses this in multiple ways with Melon: from displaying the latest guidance before booking to proactively sharing live updates.

Program admins can also track employees’ whereabouts in real-time, while Melon’s robust health and safety capabilities provides prompt alerts on risk-related events impacting travel such as country entry requirements, latest government and supplier COVID restrictions, adverse weather and more. These features are underpinned by access to dedicated travel consultants 24/7, 365 days a year.

As travel picks up paces, growth opportunity for the SME markets are looking optimistic. Flight Centre’s FCM brand, which also services this audience, is also in the midst of a technology revamp of its own, will roll out a new proprietary travel tech platform in China ahead of a planned global tech platform overhaul, which is set to go live later this year.  

The new platform will offer a seamless crossover between devices, air and rail comparison options and self-service re-booking and itinerary change functions. Assistance will be available via live agent or a mobile digital assistant tool, based on the FCM chatbot, Sam.

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