AirAsia integrates with Concur to enhance corporate traveller experience Image Credit: By Kentaro Iemoto from Tokyo, Japan (AirAsia A320-200(9M-AHR)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Concur has announced it has deepened its relationship and integration with AirAsia. Only Concur users whose company has a direct relationship with AirAsia will benefit. They will have access to exclusive corporate content from the low cost airline through an enhanced integration.

Low cost airlines increasingly popular in Asia

The announcement comes at a time when low cost airlines making significant inroads into the corporate air travel market.  A 2015 McKinsey report sponsored by Singapore Tourist Industry entitled Asian Business travellers: Five things you need to know; identified four archetypical travellers. The new announcement will help AirAsia Group target at least three of those, the belt tightener and the points maximiser and the stereotypical suit. They will offer additional perks and points through the interface. Also with Concur managing the bookings the Stereotypical Suit traveller will find it easier to book and make their travel arrangements.

With corporate travel budgets reducing this is a smart move by AirAsia. It will also help Concur win and retain business as they integrate their platform with the budget airline.

The report also highlights that the growth in usage of LCC (Low cost carriers) was almost twice as fast in Asia (11%) than US (6%) between 2012 and 2015. Overall 29% of travel in Asia uses LCC with North America a much lower 16%.

Concur and AirAsia discover synergies

Nick Evered, SVP and General Manager, Japan and Asia Pacific at Concur (Image credit LinkedIn
Nick Evered, SVP and General Manager, Japan and Asia Pacific at Concur

What isn’t clear is what the exclusive offerings are that AirAsia will deliver for Concur corporate customers. Nor is it clear whether the same offers will be made through any other travel booking solution. Barry Klipp, group head of corporate sales, AirAsia commented: “We are delighted to collaborate with Concur, who will play a key role in our corporate sales strategy. Through Concur Travel, we will offer both our regular content, as well as, our exclusive corporate content to those who have a direct corporate agreement with AirAsia.  As companies continue to manage their travel budgets in the challenging economic times, we look forward to supporting Concur’s customers in budgeting their employee travel costs.”

For Concur it opens up more opportunities in Asia. It will be interesting to see whether it helps them approach AirAsia customers with the SAP company solution. Nick Evered, Concur’s senior vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific, commented: “Our collaboration with AirAsia Group, by far the largest LCC grouping in Asia, will provide our customers with a great cost saving window on their travel budgets. Concur’s easy-to-use business travel and expense management software solution helps businesses save time, money and gain control. This is a timely collaboration as both Concur and AirAsia identify the needs of the digital customer today, and we’re excited to be able to extend more savings for our customers through this collaboration with AirAsia.”

Conclusion

This is an interesting deal that puts Concur slightly ahead of its competition. It will be interesting to see what other deals it is able to make in the LCC space. Additionally, whether it helps them expand their footprint in Asia. AirAsia flies to 120 destinations across 26 countries with 9 airlines. The operations in India and China should open up some interesting opportunities for the SAP company.

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