Loyalty and reward is, at times, a contentious topic between travel managers and travellers. While some want to keep their frequent flier points afloat, others want to feel remuneration for travelling in their own time.
Washington DC-based Upside, created by former Priceline senior executives and led by ex-Priceline founder Jay Walker, has a concept that is working for SMEs. BTiQ caught up with them to hear more.
When were you launched?
How many people are working for the company?
Approximately 50 employees.
Why is it unique?
Upside aligns the cost saving interests of small to medium sized companies with the traveller, the employee. It was built for employees who buy their own business travel, "unmanaged" travellers, who are rewarded in the form of gift cards for every trip they purchase on Upside. The company saves up to 15% and the individual gets rewarded with gift cards of $100, $200 or $300 value, redeemable at 50+ top retailers like Amazon. Upside curates the top six cost saving options in minutes, and then shows the traveller other ways to save (for example, fly out of LGA vs. JFK). These changes are purely discretionary but the more the customer saves, the more they can earn.
What problem does it solve?
It helps companies save money and incentivises employees to help the company save money, filtering hundreds of thousands of options, so the traveller doesn't have to.
What platforms is it available on and can integrate with?
Upside is a cloud based platform.
What markets is it available in?
All markets - however at the moment international travel must have originated in the US. Plans to open up international travel forthcoming.
Which companies are using it already?
We target the individual traveller but we have a multitude of small to medium sized businesses and self-employed using Upside - and a 95% customer satisfaction score!
What do travel managers like about it?
We do not target travel managers specifically.
Why do travellers like it?
Upside is quick, user friendly and rewards both the company and individual. All frequent flier and credit card points transfer. Upside also has 24/7 customer service.
What are your growth plans?
We are scaling very quickly and looking to partner with additional services ie car rentals/services that improve the product or provide "upside" to our customer, while helping us scale.