BENGALURU: When you travel for business, how often have you fretted over planning it in accordance with their company’s policies and then worried about claiming expenses? More often than not, employees find business travel tiresome because of the above two reasons and Bengaluru-based Insteract hopes to
change that.The startup, which was launched a few months ago, wants to change the way businesses plan, approve and measure their business travel.
They want companies to plan around the comfort and productivity of their employees and not plan business travel around unbending and unreasonable company policy. Insteract’s team claims that they have acquired more than a 100 customers so far, and that the startup is helping them save 10 to 12 per cent of their corporate travel spends. It has seen an impressive investor interest, with a seed-funding of $2,50,000 from a travel-technology company.
Balaji Ramakrishnan, founder and CEO of Insteract Technologies, has over 20 years of experience in travel technology. According to him, travel policy is geared towards keeping costs down and it steps into minute details -- type of trip that is acceptable, how to book them, how to expense it and so on. “The problem is these rules are not updated or benchmarked often to capture the supplier changes and the behaviour of the travellers, that is the welfare of travellers.
Also, most often, the organisation is using email as a way to plan their trips, this is common in India. This makes it difficult for companies to audit the transaction for any gaps in the policy,” he says. He estimates that this inefficient process and lack of tools increase the cost of managing their travel spend by 30-40%.
He believes the answer lies in empowering travellers. Give them a set of guidelines, not rigid rules. “As travellers, today we are well informed (thanks to the Internet), by enabling them with the right tools companies will not only save money but achieve better compliance and return on the spend,” he says.
It was not easy helping customers understand how this is costing them. Balaji says that this was, in fact, Insteract’s biggest challenge. “Most customers were unaware of the savings they are loosing due to inefficient processes revolving a fixed set of travel policy,” he says. But there are industries that are open to such a change. He says that technology, pharma and automobile industries are among them.