The company offers a CPaaS (Communications Platform as a Service) to help businesses serve their customers on mobile devices via chat, SMS, push notifications and more. With offices in multiple locations, including Paris, London, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the CM Sales teams as well as Product Specialists travel often. “Together with Nicky Bouwman and Shanti Geerards, I handle all of the international travel for our twelve offices,” says Babs van der Waal, Operations and Administrations Professional. “We have about 200 people who travel, and Nicky and I take care of all the travel requests that come in.
TravelPerk helps our employees take charge of their own travel and that makes them feel good because they can see all the options and put it in the system. They know someone’s going to look at this and it’s going to be done in 10 minutes.
For years, Babs had booked travel for her colleagues on consumer sites like Booking.com and Skyscanner. “The traveler would send a request via email, and we would have to get back to that person and check which customer account the trip was associated with, what event they were going to and other details,” says van der Waal. “Putting all of it together took lots of time.” All of the back-and-forth emailing meant that there would be hours or days in between a trip request and a finalized itinerary.
There were other struggles as well. “The big problem with consumer sites especially was needing to pay for hotels,” says van der Waal, who notes that as a vacationer, not having to pay for hotels upfront can be a good thing, but that as a business, it’s frustrating. “We would have to call the hotel after booking and ask to pay with the company card so that colleagues wouldn’t have to pay upon arrival and then expense it.”
The CM Travel team started using TravelPerk in April 2017 and immediately noticed a difference in the time it took to book trips. They were able to save trip searches, pay up front online with the company card, and get proactive customer support to help them book complex trips when needed.
In December of 2017, van der Waal invited all of CM’s employees to use TravelPerk. “We book the trips for them to make sure it is cost effective for CM, and now our travelers can enter their trip details inside of TravelPerk,” says van der Waal.
They can look at the dates, and the departure and arrival times, and search for hotels that are close to the meeting site.
“They can add all of those details as well as a personal message for us. Then they click to request the trip and it comes to our email inbox to take a look.”
Before, van der Waal would have to do most of the heavy lifting to find the exact itinerary that a traveler wanted. Even when travelers had likely done a little searching themselves, there was no way to save those preferences. “We don’t have to go through all of the same searches that they just did,” explains van der Waal.
Most importantly travelers feel more in control over their travel experience. “TravelPerk helps our employees take charge of their own travel and that makes them feel good because they can see all the options and put it in the system. They know someone’s going to look at this and it’s going to be done in 10 minutes.”
Not only does van der Waal receive an email notification for new trip requests, but she can also log in and see in-progress trips as an account administrator, giving her a simple and effective task management tool.
We see our colleagues as our customers as well so anything that can be automated or made easier through technology, my colleagues really like that. TravelPerk has put a little bit more fun into travel for them.
An unexpected benefit of using TravelPerk is the ability to quickly view current trips. The reception in the head office receives a weekly report from TravelPerk that includes the traveler, their destination, and the description of the trip.
“Our reception knows exactly where the colleagues are and what colleagues are coming for visits,” says van der Waal. “We display incoming visits on screens within the building. It lets colleagues know someone from Hong Kong is coming over, for example, so it gets employees to engage with each other.”
Additionally, CM employees know they have 24/7 travel support to help with any unexpected issues. “Luckily, it hasn’t come to the point where someone is stuck in the middle of the night, but if it does, they know that they can call and get assistance,” van der Waal notes.
The time savings that CM enjoys with TravelPerk only becomes more critical as their team grows. “Before TravelPerk, if it was a complicated itinerary, we would easily spend 45 minutes or an hour booking it and that would take us away from other responsibilities. We’ve now been able to cut that time down by having all of our colleagues requesting trips through the platform.” Van der Waal is now able to devote more time to CM’s international expansion.
CM’s business travelers like the time-saving tool as well. “We are a company that is very focused on technology, automation, and what we can do to make things easier for people and for our own customers,” says van der Waal.
“We see our colleagues as our customers as well so anything that can be automated or made easier through technology, my colleagues really like that. They think it’s really cool. TravelPerk has put a little bit more fun into travel for them.”