Travelstop strengthens presence in Asia, launches in seven markets
By Digital News Asia January 22, 2019
- Launching in Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam
- Rolling out fully-localised versions of its platform in seven Asian languages
TRAVELSTOP, a Singapore-based business travel startup that plans to re-imagine and simplify business travel in Asia, is launching in seven markets including Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Travelstop also announced the release of its iPhone app that allows business travellers to manage their business travel on-the-go, along with several new features to cater specifically to the needs of business travel managers and travellers in Asia.
Focus on regional diversity in Asia
Asia is home to the fastest growing business travel market in the world, accounting for more than a third of the US$1 trillion annual global spend. However, business travel varies substantially across the region, and existing solutions often do not adequately cater to these diverse requirements.
Travelstop plans to tackle these challenges by offering a truly localised product experience. “Many companies in Asia have offices in multiple countries across the region. Our goal is to provide these users with the best possible experience in their local language and currency, while ensuring that we offer the most relevant booking options," says Travelstop co-founder and chief executive officer Prashant Kirtane (pic, above).
"We now offer the largest selection of flights in the region, with over 800 carriers, including most regional and low-cost carriers."
Travelstop is now available in seven languages, including Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, to cater to a broader audience in the Asian region.
Besides local languages and currencies, Travelstop also offers support for regional tax differences, reporting formats, payment options, and eventually plans to introduce customer service to its users in local languages.
New features for travel managers and business travellers
Travelstop has also added several new features to further support business travellers and travel managers within the region.
With its new “Book for Others” feature, Travelstop aims to improve the productivity of travel managers by replacing a largely manual process, with a simple, online process to book travel for employees within a company.
This is particularly useful for companies that prefer to more “tightly control” the business travel booking process or in countries where technology acceptance is generally lower.
For business travellers, adherence to a company's travel policy is both cumbersome and challenging, often resulting in business travel bookings that are either over-budget or out-of-policy.
To address this growing issue, Travelstop is introducing a simple and intuitive way for travel managers to set up “Business Travel Policies” for all their employees in just a few minutes. Once set up, business travel bookings that are outside of travel policies are automatically flagged during the booking process, allowing companies to improve overall compliance and reduce costs.
Countries with a higher acceptance of technology and companies in the region that are shifting away from a more “tightly controlled” business travel process will benefit from this feature as a way to provide employees with more flexibility while keeping costs under control.
Mobile-first experiences for Asia
Despite all its regional diversity, the Asian region continues to see a rapid increase in the adoption of mobile devices across countries in the region.
Globally, Asia has the largest share of mobile internet traffic, with 61% of its population using mobile devices to go online.
It is therefore no longer enough for businesses to create mobile-friendly versions that are just smartphone-sized replicas of their desktop platform. Businesses need to design mobile-first experiences to be more relevant and keep pace within the region.
Today, Travelstop is also launching its iPhone app to help users access their trip information and manage their business expenses on-the-go.
“Our goal is to make employees more productive; they no longer have to return from their business trips and spend hours dealing with the much-dreaded expense claims process,” says Travelstop co-founder and chief product officer Altaf Dhamani.
“We're leveraging on native device capabilities to make in-trip expense reporting a breeze. Our focus is to provide an exceptional mobile experience for users, regardless of device.”
Since its launch in August 2018, Travelstop has been adopted by a diverse set of companies across Asia, including RedDoorz, Funding Societies, S P Jain School of Global Management, Dot Property.
The startup has raised US$1.2 million in funding from investors led by SeedPlus, a US-based venture capital firm, and travel industry veterans from Expedia and Yahoo.
Travelstop for iPhone is available for download in the App Store today, with plans for an Android version to be available in the next few months.