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06 Oct 2014

How business travel just got personal....

A view into Serko's product design philosophy by Darrin Grafton

By Darrin Grafton, Serko CEO.

It all started back in January 2013 with a challenge from Google. We were visiting Google’s travel team discussing the future (as you do!) and were asked to go away and think about how we could improve the traveler’s experience using the computing power in their phone.

Codenamed the ‘Unified Traveler Experience' (PCT/NZ2014/000003) the team set about defining a new technology platform that would allow travel content providers (from airlines to restaurant recommendation engines) to connect with traveller at a personal level.

To deliver on our vision we realized that we were going to need a new kind of cloud-based eco-system (or service bus framework) that would allow content providers to plug in quickly and easily. And so was born Serko’s new service bus framework that connects 'partners' together and enables travellers to access content from any platform at any time from anywhere in the world.

To work effectively we knew that the eco system had to be independent of ALL supply chains and global distribution systems today. We also knew that it had to be able to connect any expense provider and any travel supplier through a common framework that would enable the experience to be delivered to the hand of the traveler.

At the same time we also wanted to incorporate our Mobile NFC Patent in Expense Management into the framework to enable this in the hand of the travellers and allow electronic receipts to flow through the expense solution. This is a huge change in the experience , of course APPLE has helped make this a market reality now which is exciting in its own right.

After 18 months our first delivery of this technology via our mobile solution is about to hit the app stores. Why is this significant? Well, for one it delivers a Unified Experience that is radically different to anything else on the market. Thanks to Serko, business travel just got personal which means that travelers can finally start to expect and get a truly personalized travel experience. But perhaps more significantly this innovation marks the delivery of the first global travel and expense eco-system built completely in the cloud.

It suddenly becomes clear that the technology in your hand can do what we dreamed because we really do live in a connected world. We remove the physical credit cards, the need for physical receipts, we enable changes anytime, anywhere and we deliver an experience where the traveller has a voice. As you can probably tell I'm excited by it, I'm advocate for change and disruption but not one that destroys an eco-system, one that makes it healthy.

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