As 2013 comes to a close, I thought I’d reflect on the year gone by and our expectations for 2014 with respect to Rocketrip. We founded Rocketrip on three basic premises. The first is that most business travelers were more like us than not like us. They would appreciate freedom and flexibility. They would appreciate choice. Most importantly, they would appreciate not having someone or something tell them what to book, where to book, and when to book. Policy creates friction, so minimizing policy would be of key importance in creating a best in class travel management solution. If this notion sounds counter-intuitive, read on to premise three for more on this.
The second premise is that with respect to booking travel, human preference is simply too subtle and nuanced to create a single platform that everyone will universally love. This, I believe, is why you will never find anyone who “loves” their corporate booking tool, but you will find devout loyalists to Kayak, Hipmunk, or Airbnb, etc. So instead of forcing users through a purchase funnel, Rocketrip will harness the value of existing consumer solutions, allowing users to book travel however they choose, fly their preferred airlines and stay in their preferred hotels.
The third and most important premise is that by motivating and properly rewarding desired behavior, the incidence of adverse behavior could be significantly reduced. Said another way, by allowing employees to share in the savings they generate through finding cost effective methods of travel, we hypothesized that we could reduce a company’s travel bill by around 20%.
The concept of positive reinforcement is not new. However in the context of business travel it is fairly unique. Our friends at Google inspired the original conceptual design for Rocketrip (Google uses a variant of the Rocketrip platform for its own internal business travel), but even there we found areas for improvement.
We wrote the first line of code for Rocketrip on May 1st, 2013. Fast forward to November 2013 when we released our beta version and then again to present day with several customers live and employees saving their company each day by booking travel their way. We’re still very early days but initial data from our beta customers is very positive.
We’ve come a long way but we have a ways to go. The team at Rocketrip is maniacally focused on user experience. While we have a solid start, we can improve in several areas, including UX/UI and improved workflows. We’ll also spend a significant amount of time and resources perfecting our algorithms, Rocketrip’s lifeblood, so to speak. Predicting the most appropriate cost for a given flight, car rental or hotel room in real time based on a company’s price tolerance is more of a science than an art, which means it’s a solvable equation. With every budget saved and every gift or cash card earned, we get a bit closer to the right equation. I couldn’t be more thankful to our team and our early customers for working tirelessly to help us get there.
Here’s to a wonderful 2014. Happy Holidays!