Business travel can be a massive source of stress, confusion and pain, both for employees and companies. Bangkok-based Octotrip is here to fix that using a combination of AI and data to save time and money, while simplifying the entire process.
By using the data generated from employees booking trips through Octotrip's mobile app, the platform can automatically approve a trip according to an individual company's policy, avoiding the time it takes for a trip to be manually approved.
Companies define their own, unique, automated travel policy for each group of employees, who can then book trips based on their policy. For example, this policy could be based on hierarchy -- junior, mid, senior and executive. Or, for smaller companies with a less structured hierarchy, it could be grouped into job type. Once a trip has been booked it will go through the automated policy, to strive for 100% compliance. As more and more trips are booked, more data is generated, meaning the system will get better at recognizing what adheres to the policy and what doesn't.
Jappe Pollentier, Octotrip COO, third from left, with Jens Oreel, CEO, Jarrich Van De Voorde (Chief of Partner Integrations) and Pieter Beens (CTO) to the right. On the left are two Octotrip employees. (Image: Octotrip)
Octotrip estimates this should save companies 30% and make more time for actual work, rather than back-and-forth emails, phone calls and messages approving business trips. The system can be managed by HR or managers through a web app, and trips can be booked by using Octotrip's mobile app on iOS or Android.
The company was founded in March 2016 by Jappe Pollentier, Jens Oreel, Jarrich Van De Voorde and Pieter Beens, after the four started a travel-hacking page on Facebook, selling business class airline seats for $100 and 5-star hotel nights for $20. Pretty soon, the page accumulated fans and people started asking about other elements of their trip.
The four realized that the travel industry was very fragmented, so started a website focused on trip planning, switching to providing B2B services when the new company, now named Octotrip, got its first investments from angels. In the two years since, the startup has launched its product and gained its first customers, focusing on the South East Asian market, where travel to China, Europe and the US is frequent.