Episode Topic: In this episode of Travel Preneur, we dive into the transformative world of corporate travel with Tripism‘s CEO, Adam Kerr. We’ll delve into how Tripism uses data and technology to improve business travel. The platform makes it effortless for travelers to handle intricate itineraries and offers companies critical insights to refine their travel policies and strategies.
Lessons You’ll Learn: Listeners will learn about the innovative ways Tripism uses anonymized expense data to recommend restaurants and accommodations that align with company culture and policy. We’ll understand how Tripism’s platform streamlines the planning process, enabling travelers to focus on work rather than logistics, and how it aids travel teams in communicating efficiently within their organizations.
About Our Guest: Adam Kerr, CEO and Founder of Tripism brings a wealth of experience from the fintech and startup sectors to the corporate travel industry. With his keen insights into the inefficiencies of traditional business travel, Adam has led Tripism to become a pioneering platform that improves travel experiences for companies and travelers alike.
Topics Covered: In this episode, we explore how Tripism revolutionizes business travel by using expense data to personalize recommendations, ensuring choices align with company policy and culture. Efficiency and traveler satisfaction are at the heart of Tripism’s service, which streamlines the planning process to focus on work. Looking ahead, Tripism prioritizes sustainability and well-being, aiming to shape a more conscious and adaptable corporate travel future.
Our Guest: Adam Kerr, the innovative CEO and fintech expert.
Adam Kerr is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with a rich background in international business and a passion for innovation. His journey includes pivotal roles such as President at Bango Inc. in New York and Managing Director for WorldPay in Asia Pacific. Adam’s extensive travel for work ignited his drive to solve the persistent issues in business travel, leading to the creation of Tripism in April 2014.
At Tripism, Adam has been instrumental in developing a platform that empowers travel teams with advanced technology to provide superior experiences for business travelers. Under his leadership, Tripism has evolved into a solution-oriented service that addresses the sustainability challenges in business travel, advocating for the use of buying power to make a positive impact.
Adam’s venture has seen significant milestones, including a successful partnership with Microsoft as its first client, and has grown to collaborate with over 25 corporate customers and industry giants like Amadeus and BCD. His vision post-COVID is focused on adapting to the complexities of modern travel programs and enhancing traveler well-being.
Outside the professional sphere, Adam cherishes family life and enjoys spending quality time with his children, especially sharing his love for skiing with them. His blend of executive management skills and a down-to-earth approach to solving real-world problems makes him a dynamic force in the corporate travel industry.
Adam Kerr: So what we do is a customer sends us anonymized expense data. So the card transactions and we look at the number of times that people have expensed a certain restaurant. And it’s a really great way of finding a great restaurant. So you’re benefiting from people who live locally that have used your card and have a local knowledge, or people who have gone there and done research historically.
Megha McSwain: Welcome to Travel Preneur, the weekly business show for the travel industry. I’m your host, Houston-based travel journalist Megha McSwain. Each episode, we’ll be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the travel industry. From conversations with leading travel business executives and industry-focused venture capitalists to exploring the innovations that are shaping the next generation of travel businesses. If it impacts the travel industry, we cover it here on Travel Preneur. Greetings travel enthusiasts, and welcome to another episode of Travel Preneur. I’m your host, Megha McSwain. Today we have a distinguished guest with us, Adam Kerr, the CEO and founder of Tripism. Hello, Adam. Thanks for joining us.
Adam Kerr: Hi, Megha. It’s great to be here.
Megha McSwain: Thank you. Adam, your first-hand experience with the challenges of business travel inspired the creation of Trumpism. How does Tripism equip travel teams with the necessary superpowers, if you will, to enhance the business travel experience?
Adam Kerr: Yeah, absolutely. So like you said, my background is in business travel. I’m from a kind of startup and fintech background. And like many of the listeners, I traveled a huge amount for work, and almost the kind of larger the company that I worked for, the worse the kind of tools that I use for playing my travel became. And it got to a point where I just thought it should be much better. The tools for business travel should be better than they are for leisure travel. And there was one particular trip where we were going to Peru, and I took a lot of time to plan the trip, and then we finally did the trip. And then about two months later, a technical team did exactly the same trip that we did, and they had to do all the same planning that we’d just done, and it just seemed a terrible waste of everyone’s time to keep planning these trips. So we started Tripism. I was looking for kind of experts in the field because I didn’t know very much about business travel, apart from being a traveler, and I saw some really innovative ideas by a chap called Eric Bailly, who led the travel at Microsoft, and we talked a little bit about what we were doing with Tripism, and he said, that sounds like a great idea.
Adam Kerr: We see the same kind of challenges. We were looking to build our own tool. Why don’t you come over and talk to us? And we were very fortunate in the fact that the Microsoft became our first customer, and we work really closely with them to evolve the product and launch with them globally. And travel programs are really quite sophisticated these days. So they are travel teams have lots of travel suppliers, the airlines and the hotels. They have risk providers, they have kind of promotions and benefits. They have sustainability information and it’s really complex how they can communicate this fantastic travel program through to their travelers. So we look to give them a superpower, as you say so that they can use Tripism. And we help them communicate things in a kind of highly specific, highly relevant way through to their travelers.
Megha McSwain: So, tourism aims to reinvent business travel from the ground up. And you mentioned a little bit before, but can you elaborate on how the platform’s comprehensive approach brings together corporations, travel suppliers, and business travelers fostering a culture of data-driven travel experiences?
Adam Kerr: Yeah, absolutely. So firstly, because we’re a relatively new entrant to the industry, we were able to take advantage of software as a service, cloud-based technology and really build on a modern architecture that enables us to be able to evolve really quickly and to be able to bring an APIs and data from multiple different places. A lot of travel teams, when they’ve historically tried to communicate, there’s just been a big push within organizations around digitization, and the tools that we all use for everyday jobs have come on leaps and bounds. But for travel teams, they haven’t really been the technology available. They had the booking tool to help people make a reservation, but no real tools to communicate to their travelers. I always quote one of our customers who said prior to Tripism, they had two means of traveler communication. One was to send an email to 30,000 people and the other one was to intranet. And nobody would read it. So by using cloud-based technology enables us to be able to connect them to lots of different partners. We take that content. We use data like previous booking data to be able to personalize information. So we talk about highly specific, relevant information. We don’t want you to read 20 years of Delta Airlines, but we do want you to know about the benefits that you can get as an employee. For one of those customers.
Megha McSwain: Time is of the essence in the world of business travel. How does Tripism streamline the user experience for business travelers, ensuring that their travel needs are efficiently met and that they can focus on their work while on the go? Is it a completely seamless sort of experience for them once they’re actually traveling?
Adam Kerr: There’s a couple of different points, really. One is business travel is a pretty standardized pattern of travel. So people go and see the same customers or they go to the same office locations. And as you’ll know yourself when you travel somewhere for the first time, you’re finding your feet and trying to orientate yourself. And it takes a bit of while to. How do I get from the airport? Where’s the office? All these kinds of things. And within organizations there’s huge amounts of kind of collective knowledge. So people have done that trip that you’re going to do lots of times before. So one of the things that we do is that we become that kind of central source where travelers can share travel tips and recommendations so that firstly, when you’re planning your trip, you can do it with much more confidence, and you can do it much more quickly because you have the information from your colleagues and co-workers. And then secondly, when you’re there, it’s much more efficient because you benefit from maybe the mistakes that people have made historically, but certainly the kind of efficiencies that have evolved as more and more people make that trip. The second piece is within a company. They obviously have policies and procedures and compliance to ensure traveler safety and best use of company funds and so on.
Adam Kerr: And some of those policies can be quite lengthy and quite wordy. And there’s a lot of things to learn about doing your expenses or finding the right hotel and things. And one of the things that we do is that we use the. Technology to be able to make making the right choice the obvious choice. So a lot of our corporate customers have preferred hotels. They’ve done a lot of work to choose those hotels. They are in a really good location. They have a really good rate. They probably have really good benefits for you as a traveler to that hotel. They’re safe and they’re secure and so on. And we also make that we make choosing that hotel a really easy choice. So you can see it’s in a great location. You can see why it’s a preferred hotel. You can see the great reviews and recommendations from your colleagues. You can see that benefit that you get. So rather than having to spend hours sifting through what you’re supposed to do, we just make it a really simple choice for you to make that right decision.
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Adam Kerr: Yep. Again, that’s the sort of beauty of technology. One of the things that we launched a little while ago, I personally really like. So if you’re traveling for work, you want to be able to take a client out for dinner or to find a restaurant for a team meeting. And all of the tools previously have been designed for leisure, and therefore the ratings and reviews that you get might be from somebody who five-star rating might be because it’s $20. Eat as much as you want pizza, which is great for some people on some trips, but probably not best for that kind of client in any way. You want to impress the client. So what we do is we take the customer, send us anonymized expense data. So the card transactions and we look at the number of times that people have expensed a certain restaurant. And it’s a really great way of finding a kind of a great restaurant. So you’re benefiting from people who live locally that have used your card and have local knowledge, or people who have gone there and done research historically that fits in with your company culture. It fits in with your expense policy. It’s a really awesome way of doing it, you know, and our merchant bank customers will have completely different restaurant recommendations than the cool consumer brand that we work with. So it’s super interesting.
Megha McSwain: That is so interesting because you really get a, I mean, a truly behind-the-scenes look at where business travelers are eating just and, and what they’re spending on, which is very interesting.
Adam Kerr: Yeah. And sometimes it can be like it can be like a really because the restaurants are quite often they’re skewed by the kind of location also. But sometimes they’ll be like a really great restaurant, which is slightly more difficult to get to or further away from the restaurants from their offices. And then sometimes you’ll get one that’s just like, super convenient and, you know, right, right by the front door.
Megha McSwain: And is it the same thing with hotels as well? Are you aware where people are staying first or which hotels they’re expensing?
Adam Kerr: So we one of the things that we do is we do a kind of post-trip survey. So with the company’s permission, we get access to anonymized booking data. And then when you return from your trip we can say, hey how was your stay at the Marriott Times Square? Or how was your flight with United Airlines, and how was your car rental service? And we get a really good response rate. So and it’s super helpful because you collect those reviews and tips so that other colleagues can use it to plan their trips. So it’s helpful for them. And then we also provide it back as aggregated data to the travel team so that when they’re talking to their hotels, they can say, hey, these hotels are doing a really great job. This one less so, but it helps them to drive kind of continual improvement and ensure that they’re getting the best return on their investment. And we do use the data to personalize the service to travelers. But the travel teams are looking to influence travelers in different ways. So there’s a kind of there’s a slight trade-off between presenting you as an individual with the hotels that are, you know, perfect for you and the ones that we think that you might book. Because now there are other considerations. Travel teams are really trying to help travelers make choices about sustainable properties. So they want to preference that. So if you’ve always stayed at a hotel that hasn’t been classed as a really green hotel, then they might look to us to try and preference some other hotels. So it drives your behavior towards more sustainable behavior.
Megha McSwain: Right. And what is your Vision for Tripism in the coming years? How do you plan to further solidify its position as a truly a trailblazing platform in the realm of business travel?
Adam Kerr: I think there’s a lot more work to do. So our customer is the corporate customer, so we want to be able to provide more data back to the travel team. So there’s a lot more focus for travel teams to look at things like traveler well-being, and for the travel team to help present information to the travelers like a kind of mirror, so that it helps the traveler to make better decisions about planning at times that are sensible for them, as well as for their work. I think corporate travel is a big investment, not only of your work time, but it’s your personal time, so how can you use that best? I think there’s a lot of fragmentation in the marketplace, and that’s something that kind of plays to our strengths, because we’ve become this kind of interface on the top that really makes sense of all the complexity and the rapidly changing information. Suppliers want to be able to do more and more for the travelers, for those important customers. And I think they’ve also had a challenge. They haven’t really been able to present their information in the best way. So we’ll probably do some more things with that. And then when we’re continually looking at new technologies like AI and chatbots and so on, to enable travelers to to find the right information and to be able to service those customers in the right way. We’re very customer-centric. So we look at the traveler and we look at the travel team and see how we can do that, and we use technology in the best way that we think is right for.
Megha McSwain: Not such an expert in the field. What advice, if any, would you offer to businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to improve their travel processes, experiences, techniques moving forward?
Adam Kerr: I’d say just get started. Really. There’s no better time than at the moment to start companies. I think a lot of the things like software as a service and cloud-based technology now makes it so much easier to get started faster and to lower that barrier to entry. One of the things that, as a relatively newcomer to corporate travel that I was impressed with is that the customers that we work with, they’re huge organizations, but their travel teams are super keen to work with companies with new innovative ideas and technologies and things. I’ve worked in fintech and internet companies for a long time, and I’d say that this sector, probably more so than any, is really great for technology companies to come into, and those companies are really welcoming to onboard new startups and new technology ideas. So just get going, put one foot in front of the other, and then take the next step and you’ll learn a lot. And people are happy to try things out and to give you a chance.
Megha McSwain: Well, thank you so much, Adam. This has been so insightful and such interesting information. Let our listeners know where they can learn more about Tripism and where they can contact you.
Adam Kerr: So they can come to our website. So that’s just simply tripism.io. They can look us up on LinkedIn. So we have our profile there obviously. And if anyone has any questions or suggestions then they can email me directly. My email address is just simply firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megha McSwain: Thank you so much, Adam, and good luck to you. To our listeners. Thanks for listening to Travel Preneur. Please like and subscribe for future episodes and leave us reviews. Thank you so much, Adam. Take care.
Adam Kerr: Brilliant. Thank you. Megha.
Megha McSwain: You’ve been listening to Travel Preneur by travelpayments.com. Make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast listening platform so you never miss a new episode, and we’ll see you again soon on Travel Preneur.