Daimler’s Global Travel Management group asked its travel and technology supplier partners to completely rethink and simplify the whole corporate travel process. In response, those partners helped develop Daimler’s Global Travel Management “FiveStar Model.”
“When travelers spend too much time on travel administrative tasks like booking, paying and completing expense reports, a company the size of Daimler loses an equivalent of €25 million in productive working time each year,” said Daimler’s Head of Global Travel Management, Bernd Burkhardt.
Relying upon the strategic cooperation with Daimler, several suppliers—including BCD Travel, Amadeus and AirPlus—aim to create a new corporate travel process for Daimler in the FiveStar project which could also be used as a new industry solution. The process begins with simplifying search by using algorithms to identify the best trip package.
Rejecting the popular assumption that greater choice is always best allowed Daimler’s technology partners to focus on the underlying goal: simplifying the process for travelers. Instead of displaying all available content, travelers get only the most relevant air, hotel and car rental offers based on a traveler’s historical behavior, corporate policy, corporate supplier strategy and preferences.
Once travelers select travel dates and trip components, the FiveStar Model uses virtual account numbers to take care of payment throughout the whole process. This removes all hassle from the travel experience for the traveler. Automated invoice reconciliation throughout the trip and via mobile further simplifies the trip for travelers and reduces the time needed to process travel expenses to almost zero. All Daimler employees worldwide use a single, standardized, streamlined travel process—available to everyone around the clock using a global shared service model.
Although the individual components of the FiveStar model already largely existed, the holistic and multi-supplier approach is completely new and innovative. Providing a search functionality capable of delivering the “one best fit” option for any given traveler was one of the biggest challenges.
“Sometimes, giving people too many options is a bad thing, because it complicates and slows down the process,” said Burkhardt. “With this simple three-click process, business travelers are able to focus on the jobs they’re paid to do rather than on trip administration. This game-changing approach leads to a whole new travel experience when it comes to business travel. All Daimler travelers will use this process as a global standard rooted in digitalization, mobility and user friendliness.”
Daimler’s travel management company, BCD Travel, provides oversight to ensure each component part seamlessly supports the overall process. Amadeus delivers the search, booking engine and user interface through i:FAO cytric technology. AirPlus manages fully integrated payment through to the expense provider.
With the program successfully piloted, Daimler will begin rolling out the model globally region-by-region in 2017.
“It’s gratifying to serve as the TMC for a client that’s constantly working to improve travel management,” said Kathy Jackson, BCD Travel’s executive vice president of Global Client Management. “The FiveStar model shows how collaboration drives innovation to make travel easy for travelers.”