SERKO SME REV­O­LU­TION

Travel Bulletin - - TECHNOLOGY -

SERKO CEO Dar­rin Grafton is a man with a mis­sion. With an ex­ten­sive pedi­gree in travel tech­nol­ogy, he is aim­ing to em­power cor­po­rate trav­ellers to make their own book­ings, and be­lieves there is a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity in the Small to Medium En­ter­prise (SME) mar­ket for travel agents. Later this year the com­pany plans to launch serko.travel – an app-based plat­form which al­lows users to sim­ply re­search and book travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion – and that’s just the be­gin­ning. He told trav­el­bul­letin that cur­rently in the SME mar­ket about 80% of book­ings are made by ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tants, and be­lieves this can be com­pletely re­versed once users switch to the Serko sys­tem, pro­vid­ing im­proved com­pli­ance, sat­is­fac­tion and con­trol as well as huge ef­fi­ciency en­hance­ments for busi­nesses. Dur­ing the Hel­loworld for Busi­ness con­fer­ence in Sin­ga­pore last month a ma­jor deal was un­veiled which will see the group high­lighted within the app as a ful­fil­ment part­ner. The Serko app is rev­o­lu­tion­ary in that it takes con­tent from key do­mes­tic sup­pli­ers such as Qan­tas, Jet­star, Vir­gin Aus­tralia, Air New Zealand as well as Ex­pe­dia, Wo­tif and Book­ing.com. The in­ten­tion is that the plat­form pro­vides a con­ve­nient, re­li­able and com­pre­hen­sive travel book­ing so­lu­tion, em­pow­er­ing in­di­vid­ual trav­ellers to se­lect from a full range of con­tent while at the same time hav­ing their ac­tiv­ity cap­tured within the TMC chan­nel. That means com­pa­nies know what their staff are book­ing and can en­sure they stay “within pol­icy” while also giv­ing TMCS the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the full travel value chain. Grafton en­vi­sions a fu­ture for the app where it is an in­trin­sic part of the work­ing day of any road war­rior. He spoke about “app in app” tech­nol­ogy – where as soon as a meet­ing fin­ishes it au­to­mat­i­cally or­ders a ve­hi­cle to take the trav­eller to the next lo­ca­tion. Other Serko tech­nol­ogy of­fer­ings in­clude a group book­ing sys­tem which can sell out a flight in a mat­ter of sec­onds, book­ing 300 seats “faster than 60 con­sul­tants can do it”. There’s bag track­ing, where a de­vice is placed in­side lug­gage to give a trav­eller a no­ti­fi­ca­tion au­to­mat­i­cally via the app when it ap­pears on the carousel. When serko.travel for­mally launches in the com­ing months it is likely to gain sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic­ity via an al­liance with on­line ac­count­ing in­no­va­tor Xero, ex­pos­ing the of­fer­ing to Xero’s 730,000 strong SME cus­tomer base. Grafton told trav­el­bul­letin he is also hop­ing to ac­cel­er­ate the com­pany’s growth by list­ing on the Aus­tralian Stock Ex­change in the com­ing months.

Serko app is rev­o­lu­tion­ary in that it takes con­tent from key sup­pli­ers’ do­mes­tic

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