How personalisation is affecting business travel

How personalisation is affecting business travel

Is personalisation a threat to managed travel, or a benefit that’s being delivered too slowly? Both, it seems…Rob Gill reports.

The potential impact of personalisation and the use of data on the managed business travel industry has been much debated in recent years, but when will it really start to bear fruit? And will it mark the start of a bright new dawn in the way companies operate their travel policies and programmes?

We have all seen how data is being increasingly used by companies to target us as consumers – search for one product or company online, and then a short time later you will probably see its adverts popping up on a completely unrelated site. Similarly, supermarket loyalty cards are using data about our shopping habits to bombard us with personalised offers.

While personalisation is permeating into our everyday lives, there are only a few signs of it taking root within corporate travel. In fact, several buyers have criticised the failure of suppliers to keep up with up with these consumer technologies, particularly with products such as self-booking tools (SBTs). One buyer even decried the technology of some travel management companies (TMCs) for “still using green screens”. Read more…

  • A threat or a benefit: personalised business travel?
The truth about working for Deliveroo, Uber and the on-demand economy

The truth about working for Deliveroo, Uber and the on-demand economy

Drivers, couriers, cleaners and handymen are now at your beck and call thanks to a host of apps. But what’s it like to earn your living waiting for someone else to press a button?

It’s the simplicity that is so seductive. Thanks to apps such as Uber or Handy, in a few clicks you can be whisked home by a private driver, to a spotlessly cleaned flat, where your favourite meal is brought to your door. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Deliveroo, the company that delivers restaurant food to your door, is expecting to hit revenues of £130m this year. While every week in London alone, 30,000 people download Uber and book a car for the first time, the firm now valued at $62.5bn.

Supporters argue that this “on demand” economy offers those who choose to work for them the independence and flexibility to fit their work to their lifestyle, or supplement their income from another job. Uber’s UK chief, Jo Bertram, points out: “Over two-thirds of new people signing up to drive with Uber have been referred by an existing partner-driver because they love the freedom and flexibility.” While Deliveroo say they have more than 3,000 riders in the UK – a number that is rising weekly.

But maybe it’s not as simple as it seems: strikes and class actions by workers in the on-demand economy, along with government restrictions, seem to be popping up as quickly as new apps. So what is it really like working in the on-demand world? We asked four people about their experience. Read more…

Ubeeqo: Europcar launches multi-mobility app in Brussels

Ubeeqo: Europcar launches multi-mobility app in Brussels

After Paris and London, Brussels just became the third city where the app Ubeeqo lets you share a car in Brussels, rent a car without a driver or book a taxi. Ubeeqo, a subsidiary of the French Group Europcar yesterday launched a new mobility app in Brussels. Ubeeqo calls the initiative a multimodal application.

Users can choose three transportation options: car sharing through Matcha, a car and driver (taxi) through CarASAP or rental cars from Europcar. The platform includes a Ubeeqo electronic payments system plus invoicing. This way Ubeeqo is targeting private and business customers.

“With the Ubeeqo platform we want to launch a new concept of urban mobility life. Flexible, budget friendly, more convenient, less time consuming and more environmentally friendly mobility solutions that exist are not aligned, that’s why we offer a unique access point, “says Benoît Chatelier, CEO of Ubeeqo. In the coming months Ubeeqo plans an extension of the platform’s services.

Although Ubeeqo calls its app a multimodal platform, there is no service for public transport users – yet. It is very much car-oriented. The oldest Brussels carsharing system, Cambio, has 383 cars in the region, Matcha about 50 for starters.

Brussels Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Pascal Smet ,received the initiative with open arms. “There are 235,000 people who every day come to Brussels alone in their car. If a third of them would start carpooling, the problem is gone. I also believe in these modern solutions via the smartphone.”

  • Ubeeqo launches in Brussels after Paris and London.
San Francisco aims at federal ‘smart city’ funding

San Francisco aims at federal ‘smart city’ funding

Campus experts have joined with the mayor of San Francisco to attempt to convince the U.S. Department of Transportation that the city is the best place to invest for a 21st-century smart transit city program. Should the department choose the city as the winner of its Smart City Challenge, San Francisco — one of the seven finalist cities selected by the U.S. secretary of transportation — will receive $40 million in government funding to develop its proposal of “smart” infrastructure improvements. These plans include free wifi for neighborhoods in the city, an increase in biking provisions and an integrated travel mobility app.

According to Timothy Papandreou, the director of the Office of Innovation at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the project proposal mainly comprises improvements to San Francisco’s current transportation system. Papandreou added that the proposal is expected to reduce the city’s traffic collisions and fatalities by 10 percent by 2020.

“The current transportation system is inequitable, it’s unsafe (and) it’s alienated a lot of people who can’t afford to drive,” Papandreou said. Read more…

  • San Francisco going for federal ‘smart city’ funding.

Uber’s boss looks to the future

Uber’s boss looks to the future

Uber Technologies wants to work with carmakers, not build vehicles itself, Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick said, leaving open the possibility of more partnerships after last month’s agreement with Toyota Motor.

Just go to a German manufacturing facility, “and you will very quickly realise you do not want to make cars”, Kalanick said at a panel in Berlin with Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche, citing a visit to a Daimler factory near Stuttgart. Instead of seeking to acquire its own automaking capacity, he said Uber will “work with companies that make them”.

Trading compliments after riding onstage together in a yellow Cold War-era Trabant, Kalanick and Zetsche ducked questions about whether the two companies will work together. Zetsche said Daimler chose chauffeur portal Blacklane for a 2013 investment because the carmaker could have a “dominating impact”. Kalanick said he’d be glad to take Daimler’s money but wouldn’t want an investor to have such a big role.

Uber is in partnership talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The technology company is also talking to other carmakers, one of the people said. Ride-sharing apps have drawn $9 billion in funding since January 1, including Saudi Arabia’s $3.5 billion investment in Uber last week, as investors seek a stake in an industry that’s challenging the concept of car ownership.

“Car companies have realised that especially in an urban area, people don’t own a car, but they need to use one sometimes,” said Martyn Briggs, a transportation expert at Frost & Sullivan. “They’re looking at a longer-term view.”

  • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is looking at the future of transportation.

Have you registered for Brussels?

Have you registered for Brussels?

Transportation expert Martyn Briggs commented on the above article. His colleague at consultants Frost & Sullivan, Shwetha Surender, is a keynote speaker at next week’s Taxi & Mobility Update-conference in Brussels. She is Program Manager – Mobility, Automotive & Transportation and on June 23 she will be giving a sneak peek into the future of transportation.

You can still register for this conference on this page.

  • Shwetha Surender kicks off the Brussels conference next week.
Transportation technology will be the next Internet protocol

Transportation technology will be the next Internet protocol

A communications test was performed in 1975 between Stanford and University College London for what was to become arguably the most important communication innovation of the 20th century: The Internet Protocol (IP). At its core, IP was focused on speed and simplicity. This required decentralization of ownership of the “web” and resulted in no one owning the Internet, nor the controls and routes used to transmit it.

While there are 75 million servers running the global Internet, there are 1.2 billion cars driving global transportation, with 253 million in the United States alone (the highest per capita rate of any large country). Personal vehicle ownership is grossly inefficient: Cars are estimated to be parked 95 percent of the time. And even with all of the advancement in logistics software, there’s still plenty of unused cargo capacity being moved around on land, sea and air.

There’s a reason the leading global Internet companies are looking at automated driving; they understand the key issue underlying the next web of transportation technology protocol is based on the same decentralization of ownership that created the Internet decades ago. Read more on TechCrunch…

How the daily commute is going to change: New services and technologies could make the ride to work very different

How the daily commute is going to change: New services and technologies could make the ride to work very different

The modern commute may be heading for a big upgrade, thanks to carpool ride-sharing services and advances in automotive electronics and smart transportation systems. Ride-sharing firms Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. are experimenting with carpooling services that are changing how people get to work. Both companies, best known for providing a fleet of private drivers that can be matched to individual passengers through their smartphones, have introduced technology that groups strangers as passengers—thus saving commuters money—by using algorithms that match distances and times of trips with other people going to similar places or in similar directions.

Early results have encouraged public-transit experts to start considering Uber and Lyft apps as potential means for reducing congestion. A recent study by the American Public Transportation Association suggests that ride-sharing trips using Uber and Lyft are replacing trips made with personal vehicles more than trips using public transport. The report recommended that public-transit officials start working on ways to make ride-sharing part of their services.

  • How IS the daily commute going to change – not just in the US? 
The D.C. start-up that’s crazy enough to take on Uber and Lyft

The D.C. start-up that’s crazy enough to take on Uber and Lyft

Split, the ride-sharing service based in D.C., finds itself in a battle of David and two Goliaths. The smartphone app offers cheap rides by putting commuters with similar routes in the same vehicle. But since Split launched its smartphone app in the nation’s capital a year ago, it’s watched heavyweights Uber and Lyft launch similar services in the D.C. area.

Those established players boast resources that dwarf what Split brings to the table. Uber has over 30,000 active drivers in the D.C. area. Split has just over 100. Uber has raised over $10 billion from investors. For Split, expanding outside the city to the nearby suburb of Arlington is financially problematic because of Virginia’s $100,000 licensing fee for app-based car services. For its first six months Split did not even have an Android version of its app. Only iPhone users could ride Split. Lyft operates in more than 200 U.S. cities. Split operates in one.

Amid challenging odds Split sees a chance to carve out a niche due to its focus on shared rides. And now with the D.C. subway going through a series of closures for repairs, Split sees another opportunity. It will be encouraging its drivers to position themselves near closed Metro stops to attract commuters. Drivers who follow Split’s recommendations receive a financial incentive. For consumers, Split never charges surge pricing. Read more….

  • Split focuses mainly on shared rides and applies no surge pricing. 
Volvo Cars pioneers two-hour in-car delivery service with Swedish start-up urb-it

Volvo Cars pioneers two-hour in-car delivery service with Swedish start-up urb-it

Volvo Cars, a leader in the field of connectivity in the automotive sector, is set to disrupt the delivery experience with the introduction a new service that promises In-car delivery of your online shopping in under two hours.

The ground-breaking collaboration with Swedish start-up urb-it will enable Volvo Cars to expand its tried and tested In-car Delivery Service and provide a foundation for a game-changing approach to delivery services, while reimagining how we use our cars.

“We understand the value of the In-car Delivery service we have developed. We’ve all had phone calls at work from delivery people trying to deliver packages to our homes that need to be signed for when there is no one home. With our In-car Delivery service we effectively turn your car into a delivery location and assign a one-time digital key to the delivery person, effectively eliminating delivery failure,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President Marketing Sales and Service at Volvo Car Group.


urb-it’s real-time delivery service ensures you get the item you have ordered within two hours of clicking the buy button on your smartphone, radically changing the online shopping experience people are used to. The Swedish start-up employs students and other part-time workers who get paid per delivery and uses geo-location and availability to choose your personal urber, as the delivery people are known.

Each urber is strictly vetted by urb-it to ensure a high-class service and traceability. You always know the name of the individual urber that is delivering your shopping. Once the urber receives your order on their mobile device they collect the items at the shop by presenting the special order code. They then take your package and deliver it directly to your car in under two hours.

“It’s really quite simple, which is what makes it so effective. You shop online from an urb-it enabled store and simply choose to have the shopping delivered to your Volvo. This can be at a pre-determined time that suits you, or as quickly as possible. You can follow the collection and delivery process on your mobile device if you wish, or just wait for confirmation of delivery. If the package is not delivered in less than two hours, delivery is free,” said Björn Annwall.

Volvo Cars launched In-car Delivery commercially on Black Friday 2015 together with Sweden’s largest distribution company and an online food store. The premium car maker is now offering a range of connected car services to its customers in select markets utilising its digital key technology which allows Volvo owners to grant one-time access to their cars for In-car Delivery purposes. Volvo Cars is working toward expanding this range of services to its customers around the globe.

Volvo Cars is adding urb-it to its In-car Delivery services in Stockholm City for an initial trial period during 2016. Availability to Volvo owners will increase as the urb-it service expands to several European cities this year and over 200 cities worldwide by 2025.

  • Volvo Cars, a leader in the field of connectivity in the automotive sector, is set to disrupt the delivery experience.