Deem is working on mobile messaging to remind travelers to book hotels and ground transportation if they didn’t do so when making an airline reservation. The company plans to make it available through Apple iOS and Google Android messaging applications starting in the fourth quarter. Deem will expand the service in 2019 to cover flight changes and dining.
“This is a way to get a more complete itinerary and more transactions per PNR for us and the TMC,” Deem CEO John Rizzo said during a late July interview. He noted average hotel attachment rates among Deem clients on eligible itineraries was 45 percent to 50 percent.
The messaging interface becomes a layer over the full Deem Work Fource system. In the case of a missing hotel, Deem will present to travelers three choices based on company policy, traveler preferences and booking history, and bookings by colleagues. After a traveler makes a pick, the booking is completed and added to the trip’s passenger name record. Or, the traveler can ask for more options.
Rizzo acknowledged the risk of communicating with travelers too early after the initial booking, too often or not enough. He said Deem would fine-tune notification windows and messaging frequency, using machine learning to determine optimal protocols.
Deem also will position the messaging tool to help users change plans amid flight disruptions and stay in touch during emergencies. Clients would configure the system to provide one-click calling to their corporate travel or security department, or their TMC.
Rizzo said the new tool would appeal to younger travelers who “aren’t browser-centric.” He also said it would be added to other messaging systems like Facebook Messenger and Slack to “go where the traveler is.”
Meanwhile, Deem last month announced a new self-service booking system for TMCs to deploy with their small and midsize clients. It is separate from Deem’s midmarket work with American Express Global Business Travel. “GBT is a customer using the standard Deem platform,” Rizzo said, noting a recently announced three-year extension. “They continue to be a big partner in what they describe as the midmarket.”
The new system is a “mass market” play suited for organizations that don’t need complicated policy controls or serious customization, Rizzo said. It is based on a similar, white-label solution designed three years ago for an unnamed car rental company and used by 47,000 mutual customers. Acendas Travel, Campbell Travel, Direct Travel and Ovation Corporate Travel will support it. A version of the new system is available directly to corporate users.