Controls will not influence the business travel market
Start-up Stery had ambitions to revolutionize business travel management. The benefits that would encourage people to save money, as well as the technological advantage that Daftcode would provide, would help in this.
Steering – good ideas, but times are not good
The very concept of Rudders seemed quite interesting, as it was supposed to enrich the classic simple platform for business travel service with an element of loyalty and self-discipline of the users. A number of benefits that were planned to be introduced were to be a distinctive feature of Rudders.
Technological advantage was supposed to be provided by the marriage of Daftcode programmers with the largest Polish OTA agent – eSky. Unfortunately, this year eSky decided to completely close the department responsible for Business Travel. Some of eSky’s employees even moved to Stere, but these were very short-lived transfers.
Certainly the project was not favored by the economic situation. Falling business travel volumes mean that the decreasing savings potential in this segment does not push companies to invest in technology. Many of them are again moving to the concept of independent bookings made directly by company employees.
There is little indication that this state of affairs will change in the near future. That is why Stery project seems to be dead for now. Can the values developed so far be used by competitors?
Stern’s know-how may be of interest in the search area
Undoubtedly, the developed know-how may tempt the competitors present on the market. Serious players here are eTravel with its CTA, Hotailors or WNT which is still dreaming about its Why Not Book. One of these players may be particularly interested in search technology, which can guarantee much faster and more precise results than those currently generated by competitors.
In the area of loyalty, we do not know the exact solutions developed by Stery. However, even here we can identify entities that could be very interested in acquiring these assets. It seems that such a partner could be LOT, which should work on further improving its loyalty programs. Both for small and medium-sized companies, i.e. LDF, and the one for cashiers, i.e. Collector. Competition such as Qatar Airways or Air France /KLM is not sleeping, and LOT’s solutions have not had any upgrades for some time.
LOT is also forced to enter the holiday segment more forcefully, and here a need may arise for a loyalty solution for travel agencies/agents. This is what tour operators have at their disposal. The new solution could be implemented m.in. a good example here is Hotailors, mentioned above, with the help of assets acquired from Stere.
LOT’s daughter company, LOT Travel, did not have a lightweight tool for handling corporate traffic, either. We could also look for significant added value here, but recently, this project (LOT Travel) has also been strangely inactive. Perhaps it will be reborn in a new more touristic character ?
Will we see travel automation in the public segment??
What’s interesting, we still lack on the market a universal tool that could serve the public administration. Providing much higher transparency and ultimately significant savings.
Universal platform, to which individual agents could plug in, would be very welcome here. The controllers gave some hope that in the future they could play such a role. They were not created directly by one of the agents, as it is the case with Why Not Book or eTravel solution. Now, the hope for the implementation of such a solution in the medium term fades away.
We are waiting for the developments on the business travel management platform market in Poland. Dramatic decrease of volumes does not serve innovation and IT investments, so there is no room for optimism. Companies with plans to expand globally stand a better chance, a good example being the aforementioned Hotailors.
The intervention of the state taking over the assets after Stere could have helped, but the state has probably much bigger problems now than thinking about innovations in the area of business travel.