TripStax announces agreement with Tangerine Travel in North America

Founded 35+ years ago, Tangerine Travel is a full-service travel agency focusing on a broad spectrum of travel options including corporate, personal, group, and luxury leisure, to clients located globally.  In addition to a strong portfolio of business and leisure travel clients, Tangerine has a significant meetings and incentive division.   The agency is dedicated to delivering unparalleled world class service 24/7 ensuring their clients receive the finest travel experience and the best value.

The contract sees TripStax implement a fully connected stack of proprietary TripStax travel management modules and the TripStax Core data processing powerhouse for Seattle-based Tangerine Travel. The TripStax modules to be used by the agency are Approve, Analytics, Docs, Portal, Profile, and Track, all of which are connected to the Core, the central data storage engine that consumes, enriches and manages all booking, profile and invoice data across all modules in the stack. Implementation is well underway and will be completed imminently.

Eoin Landers, VP of Sales - North America, TripStax commented: “We are excited to partner with Tangerine Travel as this is a significant step for TripStax in demonstrating the huge productivity and cost-saving benefits that an agency can gain by using the fully-interconnected stack of TripStax modules, all powered by The Core, our market-differentiating central data processor. We look forward to working with Tangerine Travel to help them truly reap the benefits, grow their business and continue delivering exceptional service to their clients.”

Angie Lepley, Founder and CEO, Tangerine Travel said: “We recognised the need to transition our automation to a more contemporary non-GDS centric platform to futureproof our technology. Previously Tangerine Travel’s tech stack was also made up of solutions from disparate third-party vendors, which had been managed in-house, and we needed to find a managed service that would boost our agent productivity. After in-depth discussions and evaluations of our existing tech suppliers, we realised that partnering with TripStax could solve these challenges. We are delighted to be implementing the full TripStax tech offering and look forward to the benefits this will bring for our customers and our business.”

More details about each TripStax module that Tangerine Travel has included in its stack are as follows:

  • Approve - a global approval system enabling businesses to automate granular approval processes, irrelevant of booking channels
  • Analytics - a comprehensive suite of analytics tools, enabling users to interact with travel data from the most aggregated to the most detailed level. AI technology and natural language interaction capabilities support behavioural and financial analytics in real time.
  • Docs – a document production system automating the creation and delivery of various travel related documents such as travel options, itineraries, e-ticket receipts etc
  • Portal - a TMC and corporate client portal offering a single access point to travel information, TripStax tech and 3rd party tech or content providers relevant to the customer and user.
  • Profiles - a master or intermediary traveller and company profiling solution with integrations to a plethora of third-party profile and HR systems. This application is used not only to fulfil travel requirements but also as the user’s gateway across the stack.
  • Track - an end-to-end duty of care solution developed to ensure travellers can be located and communicated with at all times during a trip. Also included within Track are industry leading information providers enabling businesses and travellers to understand localised travel requirements and risk levels when making travel decisions

TripStax Hotels goes live with transformative UI after Hotelzon integration

TripStax, the disruptive business travel provider, has launched TripStax Hotels, the ninth module in its fully connected proprietary stack of business travel tech applications. The TripStax Hotels module is the next evolution of Hotelzon – the B2B hotel booking platform which TripStax acquired in December 2022. It has been given a transformative new user interface with a dynamic log-in screen and contemporary search, navigation and results pages.

TripStax Hotels has also been fully integrated with the TripStax Core, the centralised data processing engine that consumes, enriches and manages all booking, profile and invoice data across the entire stack of connected TripStax modules (Analytics, Approve, Content, Docs, Mobile, Portal, Profile, and Track).  TMC customers who subscribe to TripStax technology can now take advantage of a fully integrated module enabling hotel booking, upselling and the increase of attachment rates.

Critically, the fact that all TripStax Hotels booking data flows through the TripStax Core, means this data is pulled seamlessly into the other TripStax modules, should customers wish to adopt wider TripStax tech. This connectivity is a key benefit for TMCs as it ensures complete and accurate hotel booking data can be populated within each TripStax module for travel management purposes such as itineraries, traveller tracking, reporting and analytics. For example a booking in TripStax Hotels is automatically pushed via The Core, so if a TripStax Hotels customer wishes to utilise TripStax Track to ensure adherence to the corporate client’s duty of care requirements, they can subscribe and switch it on seamlessly. Another example is hotel booking data being fed via The Core to TripStax Analytics, giving travel managers potent insights into hotel spend and behaviours to contrast and review within their entire programme.

More than 1 million properties are available within TripStax Hotels from multiple content sources including GDS, hotel aggregators, and direct connections. Not only is TripStax Hotels designed to manage everyday B2B hotel booking requirements, but through its bespoke events booking portals, it can handle large scale allocation and booking management.

The launch of TripStax Hotels also enhances TripStax’s Content module with the addition of significant hotel content. Until now the Content module purely contained air content from multiple GDS and non-GDS air providers.

Jack Ramsey, CEO TripStax commented: “We are excited to announce that the former Hotelzon platform has now been fully integrated into our tech ecosystem as TripStax Hotels to become the ninth module. This integration not only gives TMCs and their clients access to a proven hotel booking tool. The key point of difference and benefit to users is TripStax Hotels’ connectivity to the Core which cleanses and centralises the booking data, and automatically pushes it to other TripStax modules to be used for a multitude of travel management processes.

“The new transformative UI is just the first stage in our evolution of the platform. Over the next 12 months, we will go through a process of reengineering the functionality and user experience to ensure TripStax Hotels is future-proofed as a next-generation hotel booking tool for our TMC clients and their corporate customers,” added Ramsey.

TripStax shakes up legacy tech landscape with launch of QC Module

TripStax has launched a ground-breaking proprietary module, TripStax QC, in a bid to eliminate TMCs’ historically complex processes and reliance on legacy platforms for ensuring bookings meet quality control criteria.

Quality control (QC) is fundamental to a TMC’s service offering to check every booking against specific client requirements and service levels, or agency operational standards - from basics such as correct cost centre or employee numbers, to more detailed traveller profile checks, accurate fare rules, payment and ticketing methods and data capture for risk assessment.  Until now all quality control mechanisms have required every booking to be in a PNR within the GDS regardless of whether the booking was made via another content channel. In order to QC every booking made for a customer, agents must therefore undertake time-consuming out-dated workflows to configure and code online and offline non-GDS bookings back into the PNR.

The TripStax QC module takes a radically new approach as it removes the QC process from the GDS-centric PNR for all content regardless of the booking channel. Instead, QC processes are centralised outside of the GDS in an API-connected environment. TripStax QC is connected to The Core, the data-processing powerhouse at the heart of TripStax’s technology ecosystem, which already consumes, enriches and manages TMC booking, profile and finance data.   Booking data from any content provider is received within The Core in its original format and integrated with the QC module. All sources of content are treated in the same way and processed according to TMC and client quality control criteria within the front end of the module.

TripStax says that the possibilities for automation, productivity and efficiencies are myriad as TMCs no longer need to be GDS-centric for quality control processes because the TripStax QC module does not require a PNR. The concept of the GDS ‘queue’ for quality control disappears and is replaced by TripStax QC’s agent interface. TripStax QC becomes the logic engine, via The Core, that checks and verifies quality control data sets and performs corrective action as necessary, thus reducing agencies’ workload on QC tasks and improving accuracy. It tells agents if a booking has failed certain criteria and gives them the environment to fix the failure. The QC module can also automatically correct the failure, if it has been configured with a specified logic sequence and set of rules to follow.

David Chappell, Chief Strategy Officer, TripStax explained: “The business travel industry is continuing to disaggregate at pace with bookings being made via multiple content channels. The needs of corporate customers have also evolved meaning the type and volume of quality control checks per booking has also become much greater. Yet agents and TMCs are still relying on systems that only process quality control data residing within legacy systems that have not kept pace with the change. The launch of TripStax QC is game-changing for TMCs as it frees them from the anachronistic workflows required to shoehorn bookings made via other channels back into a PNR within the GDS for quality control purposes.

“We see a huge gap in the market for us to revolutionise how TMCs manage quality control, thus allowing agencies to be far more productive and commercially agile, as well as more creative with the kinds of processes that can be put in place for any given customer,” he continued. “Indeed we are already seeing huge interest from our TMC customers, particularly in North America where there are specific market pressures as legacy providers are reducing investment in existing QC solutions.

“TripStax is not saying that we are anti-GDS,” says Chappell. “The GDS platforms are immensely efficient distributors. But in a world where bookings are now created via a multitude of content sources, it is no longer scalable for TMCs to rely on a system that can only process PNRs for quality control.”

TripStax strengthens management team with creation of two new leadership roles

Eoin Landers is promoted to the full-time role of Global Head of Sales. Based in Seattle, he joined TripStax in August 2023 on a consultancy basis as VP of Sales focussed on the North America region. Over the last five months he has played a critical part in driving TripStax’s US growth and winning significant new business from US-based TMCs. In his new role, Landers will lead the TripStax sales team and be responsible for overseeing business development globally.

Landers brings extensive business travel tech, product, sales and multi-national experience to TripStax, gained during his impressive 20-year career. This includes four years as VP of Product at tech start-up SalesTrip, an innovative expense management and travel booking system within Salesforce, and seven years as Senior Business Development Manager at SAP Concur. His diverse professional roles also include Head of Sales at Expedia, Senior Product Manager at BCD Travel, and Software Engineer at Amadeus.

David Chappell, who joined TripStax in June 2023 as Chief Strategy Officer, moves into the role of Chief Product Officer heading up TripStax’s product and implementation divisions. He will work closely with Scott Wylie Chief Technology Officer to shape the direction of TripStax technology to exceed the ever-evolving needs of global customers.

These strategic changes are a result of the growing demand for TripStax’s proposition and are representative of the next growth phase in the company’s evolution.

Both Eoin Landers and David Chappell report to TripStax CEO Jack Ramsey.

Jack Ramsey, TripStax CEO commented: “Eoin has already made a huge contribution to our business since he joined TripStax five months ago, driving our business development strategy and growth in the US market. I am delighted that he is taking on the role of Global Head of Sales and joining the management team.  Eoin has a unique track record in business development and product innovation, combined with expertise in the technology side of the industry. He is also multi-lingual and is skilled in managing multi-national teams. This will be invaluable as we continue to grow our customer base globally.

“David has had a tremendously positive influence on our business since he came on board, aligning our commercial proposition with the ever-evolving needs of our customers in a rapidly changing technology landscape,” Ramsey continued. “His new role as CPO will be even more integral to our business, as it has a direct impact on ensuring that the tech we are offering truly supports our strategic priority of keeping pace with customer needs”

Eoin Landers commented: “It has been exciting to contribute to the success of TripStax in North America so far, and I am looking forward to continuing to leverage my experience and working with an exceptional leadership team to drive TripStax’s global growth. What makes the TripStax proposition so compelling from a sales perspective is that it’s the right product at the right time. We are giving TMC customers a very pertinent solution that can genuinely help to solve their tech pain-points.”

David Chappell commented: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Chief Product Officer here at TripStax. It is a hugely exciting time for us as a business and the continued evolution of what is already a very successful product offering is critical to our success in the market. It has long been my dream to be able to bring my vision of the next generation of both agency and customer facing travel technology to market, and I look forward to being able to do so with the wonderful team here at TripStax"

TripStax Heads to Hamburg for GBTA Europe Conference

TripStax was on a mission to spread the word about its innovative tech offering at the GBTA Europe Conference in Hamburg, and in particular to announce the launch of two exciting new modules in the TripStax ecosystem: TripStax Hotels and TripStax QC.

The TripStax team were kept busy meeting numerous conference attendees who stopped by the TripStax stand in the Expo and were keen to discover more about our unique tech offering.

TripStax CEO, Jack Ramsey also gave a compelling interview in the GBTA Broadcast Studio answering questions not only about TripStax, but also giving his views on business travel tech trends in 2024.

TripStax technology powers new Tripgrid team travel booking tool in North America

Portland-based start-up, Tripgrid, is the first corporate online booking tool designed specifically for project, crew and team travel (PCTT). This business travel category involves logistics, risk management, mobility issues and tech solutions that often fall outside traditional meetings, events and group travel management. Users of Tripgrid can book flights for an entire team in one booking flow, with 24/7 support, stored traveller profiles, group checkout, and real time flight tracking. Examples of PCCT trips can include architects, engineers and construction workers; entertainment professionals; oil and gas employees; and sports teams.

TripStax is providing the essential back-end connectivity via its TripStax Content API and TripStax Profile platforms. Enabling Tripgrid to deliver GDS content means they can offer an unparalleled, best-in-class flight inventory for booking project crew and team travel, including multi-passenger bookings on the same flight. Using its TripStax Portal module, TripStax has created a traveller profile solution for Tripgrid which pushes traveller profiles to the GDS at the point of booking.

Scott Wylie, Chief Technology Officer, TripStax commented: “We are delighted to be working with Tripgrid, to power delivery of GDS content to this innovative corporate booking tool, as well as create a traveller profile solution, thus helping to leapfrog their own technology roadmap. This partnership demonstrates the strength and versatility of our technology and how it can be advantageous to other industry providers. Our vision for TripStax is not only to be a disruptor in terms of how our technology is tackling challenges faced by our core TMC customers, but also to drive collective innovation and much-needed evolution for the wider business travel industry.”

Jake Hoskins, Co-founder & CEO, Tripgrid said: “We are excited to partner with TripStax to help us drive the development of Tripgrid and the best possible customer experience and choice of booking content. The addition of GDS content to Tripgrid will be a game-changer for us, and the integration of functionality such as traveller profiles will streamline the booking process significantly. The TripStax team are true visionaries not only in terms of what they are doing in the industry with their own technology offering, but also in the way that they are using their expertise to support start-ups such as ourselves, help us to deliver a genuinely global solution for booking PCTT.”

TripStax announces strategic partnership with Grapevine

Grapevine a first-to-market AI technology that empowers TMCs to increase attachment rates and maximise revenue per trip through intelligent, post-booking remarketing. Its white-labelled AI engine Marvin integrates with TMC data sources, identifies booking opportunities such as hotels and ancillary services and retargets travellers with ‘right time, right channel’ personalised in-policy recommendations. The plug-and-play ‘digital concierge’ solution gives TMCs a dynamic way of engaging with travellers and bookers to provide total trip support and enhanced customer experience, whilst also driving greater market performance for their own business.

The agreement sees Grapevine become integrated via API with the TripStax ‘Core’, the central data-processing powerhouse that consumes, manages and enriches a TMC’s corporate client profile, booking and finance data across each fully-integrated module in the TripStax eco-system (TripStax modules include Analytics, Approve, Content, Docs, Mobile, Portal, Profile, and Track).

The integration means that any mutual TMC clients can seamlessly and quickly implement Grapevine for their corporate customers. TripStax TMC clients can be onboarded to Grapevine without any friction, in contrast to many tech vendor integrations which historically are complex and time-consuming. It also means mutual TMC clients will have access to consistent and accurate Grapevine booking data via the TripStax Core.

Jack Ramsey, CEO, TripStax commented: “We are constantly looking at ways to enhance our tech offering and proposition to TMCs and their own corporate customers. We are excited to partner with Grapevine as we share a similar vision as disruptors in the industry, helping TMCs to evolve their business and corporate client offering, become more competitive and open doors to new revenue streams. The integration of Grapevine into the TripStax marketplace, means it will be incredibly easy for our mutual TMC clients to switch on this innovative AI tech solution.”

Jack Dow, CEO, Grapevine added: "We are delighted to be working with the team at TripStax and to plug Grapevine into their innovative tech ecosystem for TMCs. This means that we can get mutual TMC customers up and running with Grapevine very quickly and cost-effectively. This is a major advantage for TMCs given that so many third-party tech vendor integrations are traditionally lengthy and costly. The other big advantage is that TMCs can have seamless access to accurate, real-time booking and profile data via TripStax. We are already in late-stage negotiations to provide Grapevine to several TMCs who are also clients of TripStax, and expect to announce these agreements soon.”

TripStax Triumphs at 2023 Business Travel People Awards

TripStax swept the board at this year’s Business Travel People Awards, winning three categories: the TripStax Leadership Team won Travel Technology Innovator of the Year; Jack Ramsey, CEO was awarded People Manager of the Year; and Nikki Banks, CMO was named Shining Star.
The prestigious Business Travel People Awards have been running for 12 years and are judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts. The judges praised each of TripStax’s winners as follows….

Travel Technology Innovator: “In just one year, TripStax has made a significant impact as a tech disruptor, challenging the industry’s historically complex tech integrations and transactional economics to help TMCs – mainly SME TMCs – to manage data more consistently and cost-effectively for their corporate clients. And it has done this all with creativity and flair.”

People Manager of the Year: “Jack’s management style is inspirational, visionary and intuitive. At TripStax he has created an environment where employees feel valued and know they can show their true personality in the workplace and won’t be penalised for showing vulnerability. The testimonials from his employees show he listens, puts people at ease, gives them freedom to thrive, makes them laugh and inspires them to do their absolute best. One testimonial says it all: “I’ve seen more harmony in my personal life, my work life and I feel much more productive because of Jack’s presence within TripStax. In my 30-plus years in the industry, I have never had a leader who I want to follow, work with or harder for, than Jack.”

Shining Star: “Nikki has come into the industry as a complete outsider to launch a technology brand in a highly-competitive and complex market. With a refreshing energy, creativity and passion, she has worked tirelessly to establish the TripStax brand, pushing the boundaries with her quirky ideas and always looking to create the ‘wow’ factor. Not only has she made TripStax a recognised travel tech brand in a short space of time, she is held in high regard by clients, partners and colleagues. It feels like she’s been in the industry forever!”

Winners were presented with their awards at a glittering ceremony in London attended by over 300 business travel professionals. Opening the ceremony, the awards organiser and Publisher of The Business Travel Magazine, Kirsty Hicks, said: “What makes the People Awards so special is that they are about the people in our industry. Our awards aren’t about companies, or brands. They’re about the individuals and teams who make the difference, are going above and beyond, or making an outstanding contribution to business travel.”

Is generative AI a 'monster' that will take over mankind?

One of the hottest topics in the world of technology right now is the rapid rise of generative AI (with ChatGPT being the example that everyone is suddenly talking about).

But even the experts aren’t sure whether it really threatens our future with the likes of Sam Altman, head of OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, saying he’s a “little bit scared” of the technology, which, in the worst-case scenario could mean “lights out for all of us”; and the “godfather of AI” Geoffrey Hinton, standing down from his role at Google so that he can warn about the technology’s dangers.

But is generative AI really something to be so afraid of? Has a ‘monster’ been unleashed? Or will the benefits outweigh the pitfalls?

In my opinion the benefits of this breakthrough technology could be immense. It certainly isn’t going to lead to the end of mankind (that’s the stuff of sci-fi films) But first and foremost there need to be controls in place and clear visibility of what generative AI is used for, and equally what it should not be used for.

Assuming governments and creators agree on the framework for those controls and put them in place soon, let’s focus instead on the positives that generative AI can bring to the business travel tech space.

I remember sitting in an IATA meeting in Geneva back in 2019 when all the airlines were extolling the virtues of NDC. But the travel buyer in the room, whilst agreeing NDC was a great concept, pointed out the missing link – that there was no way benchmark the service and fares the corporate is getting when pricing becomes so fluid. I predict that generative AI will change that.

AI will be used increasingly for the analysis of MI and data to help travel buyers understand how their money is being spent. AI will be able to make sense of spending patterns, pricing, advance purchase patterns, et al and draw like for like comparisons (even when the two ‘apples’ look and smell like apples, but they are a different colour). A human being would not be able to analyse all those swathes of data, let alone create a narrative around it. AI on the other hand will come into its own on that front. And that has to be good news for travel managers.

Passive Regressive Behaviour

For GDS-centric TMCs, NDC has caused huge disruption as they struggle to source content via disparate channels. But another less-discussed conundrum is the unmitigated reliance of these TMCs’ back-office systems on the GDS, which will become even more challenging for two reasons: 

  • delivery and booking of non-GDS content via multiple channels will continue to increase, whilst GDSs try to modify their commercial models to incorporate this content. 
  • GDSs are charging TMCs to store these passive PNRs meaning TMCs need new ways to capture and store the data. This downward pressure will only continue. 

All this is adding cost to a TMC’s business – and who is ultimately going to pick up the tab – the corporate client?

The back office GDS reliance is exacerbated by our industry’s complex invoicing and BSP structure. If a new tech-led TMC was being created from scratch today, it wouldn’t build a complicated invoicing system, but adopt a new age fintech payment solution. But TMCs have also been reluctant to adopt new payment models due to their back-office systems’ interdependency on the GDS to manage all transactional data, whether created in the GDS, or entered as a passive PNR. 

How can TMCs tackle these challenges?  Here are 3 options:

  1. Ensure the back-office system can consume and manage bookings from multiple channels in a structured, normalised manor, ultimately switching the reliance on data consolidation to the back office as opposed to the GDS 
  2. Licence or build their own data processing layer with connectivity to all suppliers, which then feeds their back office 
  3. Overhaul how they receive payments from customers and make payments to suppliers.

Separating content distribution and post booking data consolidation is the key to understanding how our industry can evolve at pace and catch up with other sectors where fintech payments are the norm (think Deliveroo and Uber). It’s time to end the post-booking dependency on GDS providers, in a world where supply and demand are currently shackled by it, and allow the GDSs to evolve as content distributors.

This blogpost was written by Jack Ramsey, CEO, TripStax. Visitors to the TripStax stand K51 will be able to interact with a two-metre, high definition, touch screen to experience TripStax’s dynamic tech in action.