(Corporate Travel Management)
Companies using the tool worldwide Not disclosed
Number of users/seats Not disclosed
Number of bookings handled annually Not disclosed
Total transaction volume annually Not disclosed
Frequency of updates A minimum of every two weeks
Type of company Travel management company (CTM)
Main market Global
Set-up fees Did not disclose
Ongoing fixed costs Did not disclose
Transaction fees A range of options: flat fees per booking; graduated fee that varies according to transaction volume; graduated fee that varies according to the total value of transactions in a given period; percentage of the value of the transaction; bundled subscription basis.
Air Global distribution system, low-cost carrier and New Distribution Capability deliver content from more than 400 airlines globally and is filtered by company policy. CTM says it offers negotiated fares up to 45 per cent off published rates. Client-specific rates and routes are available through Sabre. CTM integrated RouteHappy content with the tool in 2020 to deliver granular service information.
Accommodation Sabre GDS provides more than 32,000 hotels available as standard along with associated client-negotiated rates. CTM Hotel Program offers discounted rates with a million properties in 149 countries and more than 6,000 cities, plus a comprehensive range of preferred rates. CTM has integrated Conferma for extra content and payment options. It also offers online travel agency content through Expedia Partner Solutions with Booking.com content from more than 60,000 properties in more than 25,000 markets worldwide. Lightning has direct APIs with, for example, Premier Inn and Travelodge.
Rail Content is provided through a variety of sources regionally. In the UK, domestic rail content is provided by Evolvi. European content is provided by International Rail.
Car Preferred partnership agreements with global car rental providers including Sixt, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and Europcar among others.
NDC and other direct connects CTM is Level 4 certified for IATA’s NDC programme and is live in Lightning with NDC content from a range of carriers, including Singapore Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Lufthansa. The tool is in NDC development stages with American Airlines and United Airlines and is working with multiple major carriers as they develop their NDC strategies. CTM sits on IATA’s global travel management executive council advising on future strategic direction and adoption of NDC across the travel supply chain.
CEO, EMEA Debbie Carling
CFO, EMEA John Murray
CTO, EMEA Brian Sheerin
CIO, EMEA Karen Janssen
General manager, sales Shelley Matthews
What the company says
CTM points to an agile regional development philosophy that pushes innovations from four technology hubs in the US, UK, Australia and Hong Kong as benefitting customers. The company claims to address local market requirements in its booking tool faster than any other travel management company, supported by proven technology “deeply ingrained” in an end-to-end travel tech stack. Regarding specific innovations, the company highlighted how it has expanded Lightning to incorporate a full travel workflow alongside proprietary tools including CTM Risk Alerts, CTM Data Hub and CTM Climate+. The company promoted “a more fluid, cohesive operating system for global business travel that standalone booking tools cannot match.” The company also pointed to Lightning’s sustainable travel features: enabling users to set, monitor and redeem carbon budgets at company, division, team and individual levels and offering a “real-time carbon budget health bar [that] shows carbon cost of each travel option, with the greenest choices highlighted in searches.” The company also said it was working with clients to build carbon costs into approval systems and share carbon budgets between travellers.
What buyers say
One corporate travel manager whose company began working with CTM and the Lightning platform in 2018 said it made the move partly due to the “full hotel content provided,” adding its previous partner had an “ageing online booking platform” and “very restricted” hotel offerings in comparison. Another buyer commented on Lightning’s “ease of use, content and the continuous development cycle,” adding the support team has been helpful when encountering challenges. One buyer in the early stages of its relationship with CTM said the booking platform was “true to its name” in terms of speed and provided “intuitive features” that contribute to a good user experience.
What consultants say
Consultants said they had active bids that included CTM’s Lightning booking tool, but that the tool works best from Australia, New Zealand, UK and US points of sale. “It doesn’t have proof of life for a global customer,” said one. Another noted the TMC itself rolls out four tools globally. That said, for the right regions, Lightning was characterised as a “well-received tool,” with a good user experience.