The 12 months of 2014 were exciting in the world of business travel and spend management. We pulled some of our favorite company highlights and industry news together for our year in review.
January - A rosy outlook for SMBs
Here are a few stats that bolstered the optimism:
- 80% of small businesses were expected to increase hiring
- travel had increased for 89% of small businesses the previous year
- 26% of small business owners plan to increase spending in 2014, up 6% from 2013 alone.
February - Business Travel Show London
London hosted February’s London’s Business Travel Show (BTS). The theme of the event was “New Booking and Meeting Tools.” The spread of automation into every aspect of travel and spend management proved a recurring theme at BTS. Concur was on hand at the event with Isabel Montesdeoca discussing Price-to-Beat, our Google partnership and other upcoming innovations in business travel and expense management.
March - Wearables and travel apps
With the technology industry hot on the wearables debate, TripIt released research revealing that travel apps were still new technology to most travelers, making it clear that ample market opportunity existed to connect technology with the lives of everyday travelers. Concur had recently launched https://developer.concur.com, a resource offering developers extensive tools, docs, resources and a sandbox to help them develop new apps and services, while reaching 25 million Concur users at 23,000 companies.
April - Steve Singh on Jim Cramer's Mad Money
Concur CEO, Steve Singh, was a featured guest on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show for the second time. Jim loved that we added the New York Yankees and Mets as our latest customers. The two discussed Concur's ease-of-use, ExpenseIt, and our American Express integration. During this appearance, Steve also highlighted the power of an open ecosystem and the mission of bringing the Perfect Trip to life. Steve reappeared on Mad Money again in August 2014 and also appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box in July 2014.
May - #CF2014
In May we held Fusion, our annual customer event. In addition to having Jewel as an inspiring keynote speaker, it was our largest conference yet with 2,265 attendees. Here, we announced an exciting new group of mobile app partnerships, all available in the Concur App Center and each with its own unique benefits for users and complex business challenges. Every year, we recognize our most innovative customers with the Fusion Innovation Awards. The Innovation Award winners of 2014 were:
- Getty Images
- Oribe Hair Care
- Tulane University
- Elizabeth Arden
- Cognizant Technology Solutions
- Gant Travel
We hope you’ll join us for Concur Fusion 2015 in San Francisco March 31st – April 3rd. Are you saving your company tons of time and money by innovating with Concur? If so, then apply to be a 2015 Innovation Award winner here. We’re excited to showcase your successes in front of your peers, other customers, and partners.
June - Jason Day
In June 2014, we were proud to introduce PGA TOUR professional, Jason Day, as an ambassador for Concur. At Concur, we love to celebrate and encourage hard work and innovation everywhere so it was easy to partner with the eighth-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings. Having earned various international victories while maintaining his focus on family and philanthropy, Jason perfectly represents the core values of Concur: a strong drive to win, poise, character and commitment to family and community.
July - GBTA 2014, United Airlines, Airbnb
July was a busy month for Concur. Our CEO, Steve Singh, had the honor of being a keynote speaker at GBTA. Steve’s speech addressed upcoming changes in the travel industry and his vision of a Perfect Trip that is connected, effortless, and transparent. This vision is centered around creating a travel ecosystem that dynamically responds to the needs of business travelers, the companies that they work for and the suppliers that serve them. Here were the major points of Steve’s keynote address:
Connected: All of the suppliers and systems any user touches should be aware of who the user is, who they work for, and what their preferences are. This ensures users receive company discounts, so a user's company knows where the employee is, and so expense reports can be filed automatically.
Effortless: When the user’s United flight lands, they should be asked if they want Über to pick them up and take them to the hotel. In fact, while they walk to their car, they should be able to check into the W Hotel that they are staying at and have their room key sent automatically to their smartphone or smartcard.
Transparent: Travelers want to have all their personal or corporate preferences, and not just those that are prescribed. And in return, they should be able to easily share those choices with my company to make sure we are on the same page and so that they can keep me safe in case of an emergency.
If that wasn’t exciting enough, we also announced a major partnership with United Airlines to develop expanded corporate booking capability for mutual clients, leveraging Concur’s TripLink product. Through TripLink, corporate travelers will be able to link their Concur and MileagePlus profiles to receive their company’s corporate benefits when booking directly with United while their employer will satisfy reporting, policy compliance and duty of care requirements through Concur.
In July, we were also excited to announce our partnership with AirBnb. With this partnership, the benefits of the sharing economy are now extended to the business world: business travelers have more booking options and easier expense management. Finance and travel managers have more accuracy, visibility and control. And we hope that travelers get more personalized travel experiences that contribute to their perfect trip. It’s a winning proposition all around. “A growing number of professionals are choosing to book travel expenses on their own, using Airbnb and other sites to find cheaper deals or locations they prefer,’ according to Tim MacDonald, Concur’s executive vice president of platform and data services. He estimates that as much as half of hotel bookings for business trips are done by individuals rather than through corporate travel agents. Later this year in October, the value of AirBNB for business travel was featured on the Today Show.
August - The Mobile Mind Shift
In August, we were honored to be referenced in Forrester Research’s compelling technology book“The Mobile Mind Shift – Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment” by analysts Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff and Julie Ask. Based on 200 interviews with entrepreneurs and major companies across the globe, the book highlights businesses that are taking advantage of mobile moments to improve customer experiences. The authors featured Concur in a case study about how our technology ecosystem harnesses the power of the cloud combined with mobile solutions to improve the lives of business leisure travelers. “Concur needed both halves of the technology to get things right—sophisticated and complex software and analytics running in the cloud and simple, speedy apps in the palms of a traveler," they wrote. "But it’s the T&E Cloud powering the whole systems that makes the difference. Great mobile moments can only happen when they’re built on a powerful, continually improving platform like this.”
September - BikeMS
At Concur, we love to give back. So that’s what we did! Over 100 riders wearing "Concur blue" rode in the Bike MS: Deception Pass event on September 6 in Mt. Vernon, Washington. We set our goal at $100,000 dollars and we raised $155,000. We faced this challenge together, with the same preparation, aspiration and determination that we face all challenges with. Until there’s a cure for multiple sclerosis, and as long as there are people willing to ask how the world should work, the least Concurians can do is put on a jersey and ride. We can’t wait for next year’s Bike MS event.
October - The Perfect Trip DevCon
On October 30, we hosted our annual The Perfect Trip DevCon 2014 in San Francisco. Eight finalists pitched travel applications they developed for a chance to win $100,000 in funding awards. A panel of experts asked entrepreneurs to delve into market opportunity, user uptake, scalability and reach to help the audience conduct a live vote for the winning apps. Here were our winners:
Best Innovation for Travelers: Paradine
Paradine enables you to share restaurant recommendations with your trusted network of colleagues and clients. As a peer-to-peer recommendation engine, Paradine integrates with Concur so you can discover restaurants that are most visited, recommended by colleagues and in policy. This is only the start. The company plans to build a platform to access top dining, hotel and entertainment recommendations for business travelers.
Best Innovation for Businesses: LoungeBuddy
LoungeBuddy enables travelers to discover and access their airport oasis. If you’re looking for a work desk to be productive or a place to have a meal, LoungeBuddy helps you discover the right airport lounge at the right time. It’s available in 600 airports and the company is in discussions with carriers worldwide.
November - Dining data from Table8 & Concur
In conjunction with Table8, we dove into data from both restaurants and business travelers looking for insight into how the two marketplaces interact. It turns out that business dining is helping fuel a rise in restaurant revenue. The analysis also sheds light on business dining trends – information that restaurants can use to target business diners and drive revenue growth. Table8 is primarily backed by the Concur Perfect Trip Fund, and offers patrons exclusive last-minute access to sold-out restaurant reservations.
December - Concur steps into the future with SAP
On December 4, SAP’s acquisition of Concur became official. Our CEO, Steve Singh, explained why Concur and SAP make sense for our customers: “We share a commitment to helping organizations of all sizes ’run simple‘ so they can focus on what matters most to them. We believe in innovation and making big bets to benefit customers. And we recognize that combining our respective expertise, assets and resources will allow customers to operate with unprecedented efficiency, transparency and insight. Together, SAP and Concur can more rapidly expand the ecosystem of partners connecting through an open platform to break down barriers and deliver a new level of integration and simplicity across processes. For all of these reasons, we’re excited to move forward with SAP.”
Throughout the year one thing held true. Our customers, employees, and partners were awesome. It was an honor working with you all in 2014, and we look forward to more awesome work with you in 2015.
What a year! What was your favorite moment of 2014? Tell us about it in the comments or on any of our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. And have a very Happy New Year!