If you live out of a suitcase and commute via plane, you’ll know that organising and booking business trips can be as gruelling as the jet lag. But an AI-powered SaaS platform called Itilite is making life easier for travelling employees and bosses alike by helping companies digitize their travel. The platform is able to reduce the cost of business trips by 30% and pass half the savings onto hard-working employees. It’s a win-win.
The start of the journey
Travelling has always been part of Mayank Kukreja and Anish Khadiya’s professional lives. At one point Itilite’s founders were travelling for almost 200 days every year and getting increasingly fed up with planning trips offline. They noticed that corporate travel management hadn’t changed much since the 1990s, despite business trips accounting for 6% of big businesses’ budgets, and even as online booking for non-business trips became easier. “It often includes a lot of manual intervention and offline processes that lead to a poor, inefficient and costly experience,” Kukreja says. So, the duo joined forces in 2017 to found Itilite and launch a new approach to business travel that helps companies save on travel costs while rewarding thrifty employees.
How it works
The platform predicts what a trip will cost (including flights, hotels and cabs) by using AI algorithms to analyse the best options. It factors in a company’s policies and budget limits, while balancing them with the travel preferences of employees. Users can pick between the different options suggested and book their trip via their company, independently, of via Itilite. If their choice is more economical than the maximum limit set by the company, and they choose to stay in a budget hotel instead of a 4-star boutique, they receive half the saving made in the form of gift vouchers upon filing their expenses via the platform on their return. “This is a win-win that saves money for the company and improves employee engagement as well,” says Kukreja. It’s possible to choose from Itilite’s personalized recommendations and book a trip in just 90 seconds, he adds.
Benefits to businesses
Itilite is the first smart, cost efficient and employee-friendly platform in the corporate travel market, according to its founders, and provides three key benefits: cost savings, time savings and better control for companies. “We help companies reduce cost by up to 30% by incentivising employees to save for the company,” Kukreja says.
Itilite can show personalised options in real time, and 85% of users select from the recommendations that the platform provides, making it possible to book a trip in less than two minutes. “We have seen up to 97% adoption by employees, while the average in the industry is at 50%. This just shows the love we are getting from our end users,” Kukreija says.
Real world usage
Itilite is currently focused on the corporate travel market in India, which is estimated to be $35 billion, but its potential is huge as the global market is thought to be worth $1.3 trillion. The startup is working with more than 100 customers, including fast growing startups such as Cure.fit and Cloudnine.
Itilite and Oracle
Being part of Oracle for Startups has provided Itilite with market access and visibility. “Oracle has introduced us to many of their enterprise customers, including HDFC where we are running a pilot now,” Kukreja says. The startup’s offering complements Oracle’s HCM and Expense solution and Itilite is exploring whether it will be possible to offer a combination of these products to Oracle customers. “In the future, we plan to leverage our relationship for an accelerated market access as we scale up outside India as well,” Kukreja says.
Itilite plans on growing its clientele to 500 businesses by 2020. It will also establish an international presence to cater for customers with operations outside India. “With support from Oracle and our multinational customers, we see it as a natural progression in our growth journey,” Kukreja says.
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