I'm a huge fan of TripIt Pro on a personal level. Knowing that a flight has been delayed or cancelled before the flight crew always brings a smile to my face. Knowing who else is likely to be on the same trip (provided they've signed up to TripIt) is also useful. So when I heard that TripIt for Business has been releasedt, the instant reaction was: 'Oh goody, what's new?'
Over on Venture Beat, they're saying that:
Cofounder and Vice President of Business Development, Scott Hintz, compared TripIt for Business to Salesforce.com, in that it offers smaller companies a simple, lightweight equivalent of the more complicated travel systems used by larger enterprises. Rather than managing all of a company’s travel through one system, TripIt for Business allows businesses to arrange their travel through whatever website, agency or provider they want, while still managing those plans on a single site.
So far so good. TripIt has unquestionably done a superb job in tapping into the services travelers need to stay informed about flights, show bookings and so on. It beats the heck out of carting paperwork around to check-in desks. Except that it is a half baked solution and comparing it to Salesforce.com is a tad disingenuous.
It is really a bundling up of multiple units of the existing TripIt Pro with little or no real advantage beyond the ability to create groups and subgroups. Or am I missing something? Aaah yes - the monetization of affiliate sharing that comes from your using complementary membership to Regus Gold and Hertz. Even then, do I really want yet another network to clog up my email notifications?
What I really want is for these services to be embedded within an expense management system. Despite the advent of video conferencing, corporate travel is only likely to increase as service industry workforces become more mobile. Keeping a firm grip on those expenses is critical.
Travel agencies can do a good job in that regard but I have consistently found that services like Kayak for example provide me with the best deals.
It may be that TripIt for Business will work well for the very small business. Headline pricing at $399 per annum for the 10 person firm is unquestionably attractive. But sooner or later I'm going to look at my suite of integrated business apps and wonder why this service isn't embedded. Why? Because I can see the potential for transformational change. In that sense TripIt for Business is a feature.