Business travel is essential for many companies, but managing employee trips can be a logistical nightmare without the right tools. As travel volumes have increased in recent years, the market for business travel management technology has rapidly expanded alongside it. While TravelPerk has emerged as a prominent player, it now faces fierce competition from a growing number of platforms aiming to streamline corporate travel booking and policy enforcement.
In this in-depth review, we’ll take a look at TravelPerk’s key competitors and how they compare across crucial factors like booking capabilities, administration features, reporting, and more. By understanding the landscape, travel managers can make a more informed choice for their organization’s needs. Let’s begin our exploration of the competitive field.
As one of TravelPerk’s largest rivals, TripActions offers a full-service business travel management platform. Founded in 2015, they have grown rapidly thanks to large funding rounds totaling over $500 million. TripActions provides booking and expense capabilities across flights, hotels, cars, and activities.
- Trip building – Agents can create customized travel itineraries for air, hotel, ground transportation, and activities all in one workflow.
- Automation – TripActions analyzes past trips and employee preferences to auto-book repeat trips and suggest flights.
- Duty of care – A 24/7 global security team tracks employee locations for safety alerts and emergency assistance.
- Reporting – Customizable reports provide visibility into spend, compliance, and savings.
- Expense management – Employees can submit expenses via the app for automatic reimbursement.
- Full-service travel platform covering all trip components end-to-end
- Strong focus on automation to simplify booking processes
- Data insights to optimize bookings, compliance, and savings over time
- Higher overall costs compared to competitors focused on core booking
- Less flexible than unbundled point solutions for mixed travel programs
- Shorter company history than more established rivals
As a one-stop-shop platform, TripActions offers extensive capabilities but comes at a higher cost than focused solutions. Their growing automation features are impressive for reducing workload. However, some companies may prefer more modular options depending on their unique travel needs and budgets.
As the travel booking module within the larger SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, SAP Concur is one of the legacy giants in the space. Founded in 1993 as a standalone company before being acquired by SAP, Concur provides travel, expense, and invoice management tools.
- Booking – Access to major GDSs and direct supplier connections for flights, hotels, and car rentals.
- Expense – Automated expense entry via mobile capture and receipt recognition.
- Billing – Direct billing to clients or internal cost centers.
- Analytics – Standard and customized reporting on spend categories, suppliers, and more.
- Invoice management – Tools to process and pay supplier invoices digitally.
- Deeply embedded within larger ERP ecosystems for seamless processes
- Established player with a global support network and flexible deployment options
- Large feature set spanning multiple task areas beyond pure travel
- Higher costs than standalone providers due to bundling with ERP
- Interface feels dated compared to born-in-the-cloud rivals
- Less agile deployment of new innovations vs. focused startups
As an entrenched incumbent, SAP Concur brings the benefits of scale, integration, and broader functionality scope. However, the tradeoff is higher complexity and costs versus more nimble competitors. It remains best suited for large enterprises with sophisticated needs.
Booking.com for Business
While best known for its consumer-facing hotel booking engine, Booking.com also powers corporate travel through its “Booking.com for Business” product. Launched in 2016, this B2B solution provides access to the company’s massive global hotel inventory.
- Hotel booking – Direct access to over 630,000 properties globally, including negotiated corporate rates.
- Reporting – Standard reports on bookings, spending,ing, and unused reservations.
- Mobile app – Book and manage hotel stays entirely from a mobile device.
- PCI compliance – Payment processing meets strict security standards.
- Unmatched global hotel selection through Booking.com’s supplier relationships
- Very low per-booking transaction fees compared to GDS bookings
- Simple, focused solution for hotel-only travel programs
- Strictly a hotel-only solution without air, car, or activity booking
- Basic reporting capabilities relative to competitors
- Less configurable than all-in-one platforms for complex programs
Booking.com for Business delivers incredible hotel choices and savings potential for programs where hotels are the main trip component booked. However, its lack of other trip elements means it falls short of a complete solution on its own for blended travel needs. Best for companies focused primarily on hotel travel.
Founded in 2001, Chrome River pioneered online expense report processing. Today they offer a more expansive suite of travel and spend management tools. Chrome River integrates tightly with accounting systems like NetSuite, Sage Intacct, and Oracle.
- Expense entry – Take photos of receipts and enter expenses on any device.
- Approvals – Digital workflow routing to streamline approval cycles.
- Sourcing – Visibility into suppliers and options to negotiate better rates.
- Analytics – Insights into spending by category, supplier, or employee.
- Leader in digital receipt capture and approval automation
- Strong accounting system integrations for seamless financial processes
- Granular spend analytics and sourcing capabilities
- Only provides expense management, lacking travel booking functions
- Less travel-focused than end-to-end travel management alternatives
- Higher costs due to complex functionality and tight integrations
As a pure expense management specialist, Chrome River streamlines the post-trip process. However, travel managers require solutions that can handle booking, approvals, and spending analysis together. It remains best for companies seeking sophisticated spending capabilities.
Launched in 2004 as the original travel itinerary manager app, TripIt has been refined into a full online booking platform following its acquisition by Concur in 2018. It offers hotel, flight, and car rental bookings through online travel agencies.
- Itinerary management – Consolidate confirmations into organized trip strips.
- Rebooking – Reissue reservations through APIs with major airlines.
- Mobile apps – Companion iOS and Android apps extend capabilities on the go.
- Integrations – Connects with common travel tools like Uber and Airbnb.
- Long-established brand recognition and user base as an original trip planner
- Cross-device trip management across booking, changes, and on trip
- Industry-leading integration ecosystem for broader trip context
- More focused on end-users than controlling costs or policy compliance
- Limited booking capabilities versus dedicated OTA or GDS-powered rivals
- Less robust analytics, reporting, and supplier negotiation than competitors
TripIt is strongest for providing value to travelers rather than travel managers. Despite its evolution, other alternatives may better meet the needs of companies balancing user experience with controlling costs and compliance. Consider it as a complement rather than a single solution.
GetThere has long been one of the leading travel management company (TMC) platforms operating through global distribution systems (GDSs). Recently acquired by Sabre in 2019, the combined company aims to provide an end-to-end booking ecosystem.
- Airline booking – Access to major airlines through Sabre’s GDS network.
- Hotel booking – Direct connections for global hotel availability.
- Car rentals – 24/7 reservation center support for cars.
- Analytics – Standard and custom metrics on supplier utilization and compliance.
- Backed by one of the largest GDS networks for comprehensive air content
- Integrated platform with both direct and GDS-powered connectivity options
- Strong reporting and data analysis capabilities
- Complex and costly for all but the largest travel programs to leverage
- The user interface feels dated compared to more consumer-focused products
- Lacks specialized apps or self-service approach of newer competitors
While GetThere provides a truly robust booking infrastructure, its complexity may outweigh the benefits for all but the most sophisticated customers. Ease of use improvements could help compete against more seamless newcomers to the space. Best suited to large traditional TMC models.
After reviewing these top competitors, here are some key takeaways:
- The field is consolidating as larger players make acquisitions, but startups continue entering
- No single platform does everything best – evaluating unique needs is important
- Features and capabilities are constantly evolving as platforms strive to out-innovate each other. Regular product evaluations are important to stay on top of enhancements.
- Pricing and licensing models vary widely between solutions, from transaction-based to user-based to bundled enterprise software. Total cost of ownership over time needs assessment.
- Duty of care and traveler tracking features have become more sophisticated for managing risks associated with global business trips.
- User experience continues improving, moving towards highly personalized, chat-based assistants and contextual workflows tailored to each traveler’s patterns.
- Analytics and spend visibility offerings provide crucial insights but also vary in customization, flexibility, and level of drill-down available to travel buyers.
- Legacy platforms struggle with balancing extensive functionality scope against agility, while startups grow more robust over time through continuous development.
- Multi-year roadmaps and product roadmaps shed light on companies’ strategic priorities and pace of introducing new innovations.
- Customer service quality, implementation support, and additional services like travel risk management are important evaluative factors beyond just core product assessment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does TravelPerk still have an advantage as one of the original players?
While TravelPerk’s early history gave it time to refine its product, the competitive field has caught up significantly in capabilities. Many newer entrants are innovating faster thanks to modern tech stacks. TravelPerk’s main advantages now come from its large customer base, brand recognition, and continued investment in features rather than legacy alone. Regular evaluation of emerging alternatives is important.
Is sticking with one platform best or using multiple solutions?
There is no single right answer – it depends on a company’s specific travel program needs and integrations. Using a single solution provides ease of management but risks a lack of flexibility if that vendor falls behind. Blending best-of-breed point solutions opens more options but at the cost of more complex administration. Most programs will operate hybrid models blending TMC platforms, OTAs, and other tools to optimize coverage.
How do APIs factor into the competitive landscape?
APIs that allow platforms to share data seamlessly are becoming increasingly important, especially for solutions requiring integrations. Competitors are working to build out robust, standardized APIs to facilitate these connections. In the future, the breadth and quality of a platform’s API ecosystem may carry significant weight alongside traditional measures of functionality and price.
Which types of companies are best suited to each solution?
Larger travel programs requiring sophisticated approval workflows, supplier negotiations, and analytics tend to be a good fit for legacy TMC solutions like GetThere or SAP Concur. Growing mid-market companies prioritizing user experience often choose next-gen all-in-ones like TripActions. Smaller programs focused mainly on hotel spending control find appropriate specialist options like Booking.com for Business. Right-sizing to a company’s unique needs and plans for future growth is prudent.
How might this landscape evolve further in the coming years?
Several anticipated developments include:
- Consolidation as larger firms acquire competitors to achieve more full-service offerings.
- Continued entry of startups pushing innovation in specific niches or underserved markets.
- APIs and modularity are becoming even more important as multi-platform usage expands.
- Deeper integrations between platforms and corporate systems like HR, expense, and procurement applications.
- Advances in artificial intelligence drive further automation and personalization.