Booking capture specialist Traxo has joined with professional services provider ZS Associates, itself a Traxo client, to offer a new travel and expense analytics service to corporate travel departments.
Dubbed ZS Connections, the platform is an expansion of the in-house solution ZS developed for its own travel department under the direction of Suzanne Boyan, ZS's travel operations manager. Boyan was named BTN's 2019 Travel Manager of the Year for designing and implementing the initiative, which is based upon allowing direct booking with suppliers while leveraging third-party specialists for support, all supported by data capture and aggregation from Traxo.
Boyan's bespoke programme is now being made available to other corporate users, including ZS's own clients, as well as existing customers of Traxo, which will offer ZS Connections via its third-party marketplace.
The plan to expand ZS Connections to outside companies was in the works before the onset of Covid-19, according to ZS and Traxo. But while the pandemic delayed the rollout, the platform's data aggregation capabilities are even more vital to corporate travel departments as activity resumes, the companies said, citing a recent Global Business Travel Association survey in which two-thirds of travel managers reported an increase in job responsibilities and nearly half said more departments are involved in travel decision-making post-pandemic.
"To manage the increase in responsibilities and increased reporting points within their organizations, travel buyers need a solution that can not only track all of their of their travel, regardless of how or where it was booked, but also the related expense and meetings data, which often originate in disparate systems with no standardisation,” said Steve Marley, ZS meetings and events practice area lead, who helped lead development of the platform.
To enable that centralized data access, ZS Connections automatically imports data from multiple sources, including Traxo's booking capture tool, third-party online booking tools, expense management systems, corporate credit cards and travel management company and HR data, with client companies able to customise what feeds they want to include in the tool. Once aggregated, that data can be used to aid in cost analysis and rate negotiations with suppliers, identify leakage pre-trip to drive increased compliance and communicate overall performance to corporate leadership, the companies said.
For Traxo, the alliance with ZS represents the latest step in the company's expansion beyond the straight-to-client distribution channel, following the launch of its Traxo for TMCs offering in 2020, as well as partnerships earlier this year with duty of care provider Safeture, price assurance specialist Smart Hotel Rate and hotel programme automation developer BTP Automation.