Serko and Xero team up to disrupt the travel market for SMBs

We can scale this globallyDarrin Grafton, Serko

Nearly half (46 per cent) of the estimated one million small and medium sized enterprises in Australia and New Zealand book work related travel regularly.

These SMEs schedule around 30 trips per year, with each trip taking approximately six hours of someone’s time to book and manage, says Darrin Grafton, CEO of Serko.

If you can reduce those six hours to a minute, we can give back to SMEs most of the 81 million hours they spend each year managing business travel, says Grafton, explaining the business drivers behind the launch of

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New Zealand and Australian businesses with up to 150 employees can sign up and make bookings online without any service fees, through the app, which Serko launched jointly with Xero.

“This is a massive win for SMBs, we are aggregating the collective power of SMBs to deliver better rates and fees,” says Grafton. “They can [then] spend their time, effort and money to help the business to thrive.”

“If we succeed here first, we can scale this globally,” says Grafton.

“This is a great example of a Kiwi company that is democratising success for New Zealand,” says Anna Curzon, managing director, Xero.

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“For businesses that book a lot of travel, is the ideal add-on to Xero,” adds Curzon. “The integration between the systems allows travel booking data from to flow seamlessly into Xero, streamlining and simplifying the process of reconciling credit card statements.”

The integration allows travel booking data from to flow seamlessly into XeroAnna Curzon, Xero

Disruption through differentiation

Grafton says 80 per cent of the trips booked by SMEs are domestic, 10 per cent are trans-Tasman, and 10 per cent are to other parts of the world.

Around a quarter of these trips change at least once before or during the trip, he says. The app allows users to change bookings, set parameters on employee use, control budgets and connect to Xero’s software.

Unlike other online travel booking systems, Grafton explains will be complemented by offline support from Helloworld for Business, Corporate Traveller and Flight Centre Business Travel.

For the first time, these three providers will offer travel expertise on an ‘on demand’ basis which means travellers only have to pay ‘if and when’ they need their services, he states.

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Nobody has pulled this together anywhere else in the worldTim Nichols, Serko

“It is probably the most complex business model because you are shifting the travel industry and you bring technology as the forefront of that innovation and the ecosystem together,” notes Tim Nichols, chief product officer at Serko.

Nobody has pulled this together anywhere else in the world.”

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