Drift: Eliminate Travel Friction with Lola.com

Drift: Eliminate Travel Friction with Lola.com




Drift, the leader of Conversational Marketing, was looking for a way to simplify its employee travel booking process so that Becky Garber, the company’s Experience Manager, could see what everyone was booking without taking time away from her other job responsibilities. 

The Challenge

As Drift continued to grow rapidly and open new offices, Becky realized she was spending a huge amount of her time booking and managing employee travel. Historically, Drift had a “use your own judgment” travel policy, with a few general guidelines posted internally on a company wiki about pricing guidelines and preferred providers. But aside from those simple guidelines, the company's system was essentially a free-for-all.

When Becky would book hotels and flights for her co-workers she would do her best to be fair, but with little guidance, it was hard to be sure that everyone would have a comfortable, productive travel experience.

What did the process look like in action?

A typical process for a single employee booking a flight and hotel would take three days and look something like this:

  1. Employee emails Becky with details about when and where they're traveling

  2. For a first-time Drift traveler, Becky would input full legal name, date of birth and sometimes passport information

  3. For a repeat Drift traveler, Becky would dig through email to locate previous messages with the employee's information

  4. Becky emails employee to confirm that all information is accurate

  5. Becky emails a few flight and hotel options once she found them

  6. Becky and employee email back and forth discussing the options

  7. Once agreement was reached, Becky would complete booking, often at higher prices

  8. If options were no longer available, Becky would often return to step five

For all of Drift's travelers, each time they needed to make a trip, this is what the process would look like. And, unsurprisingly, it didn't always run smoothly.

"If it was a weekend or I was in a meeting, they were sitting on a flight they wanted and waiting. That caused unnecessary friction," Becky said. 

When Becky was finally able to complete a booking, she would often find that flight prices had gone up because she waited several days to get confirmation from the employee. According to Becky “we were spending more money because it was taking so long.” She knew that as Drift continued to grow and employees began traveling more regularly, this problem would only become more common and expensive.

The Solution

Realizing that Drift's current corporate travel system was costing the company time and money, Becky decided to implement Lola.com so that she could remove herself from the booking process altogether, but still make sure everything was being booked correctly. Lola.com’s easy-to-use booking platform allows employees to complete bookings on their own with Drift’s travel guidelines built right into the search process.

Travelers can clearly see what is within their company’s guidelines so they can make sure they are following the rules. Drift is able to implement guidelines that benefit the traveler, like nonstop flights instead of flights with stops, and the ability to spend a little more on a flight if the timing is more convenient.

So now, the booking process looks much simpler:

  1. Employee uses Lola.com to book their preferred options, with Drift's policies and guidelines built directly into the app

  2. Becky gets alerted when new booking comes in for her to review so she can reach out directly if there's a problem

The results are stark and, perhaps best of all, Becky found the implementation process painless and straightforward. “Everything is self-explanatory,” she said. “The straightforward guidelines avoid me having to list specific guidelines on the wiki.”

Benefits

Becky is also able to give employees and potential candidates access to Drift’s corporate card, so no one has to pay for expensive flights or hotels on their own credit card and wait for reimbursement.

When an employee is traveling and their flight is delayed or canceled, they used to have to call Becky for help, and she would spend her time, day or night, calling the airline and arranging for a new flight or extended hotel stay. With Lola.com, Becky doesn’t have to spend her time on travel issues because Lola comes with 24/7 support from real travel agents. Now when an employee’s flight is delayed, a Lola travel agent will proactively contact the traveler and help them find the best solution. Becky doesn’t have to be involved at all.

Result

Becky has been able to stop focusing on booking and servicing employee travel, and can now spend more time on other parts of her job. Employees have been able to book travel on their own, with their preferred hotels and airlines, and use the corporate card so they don’t have to worry about submitting expense reports for travel. Seemingly overnight, Drift was able to use Lola.com to transform an inefficient, unscalable corporate travel process into a  simple, enjoyable, incredibly efficient one. 

By the Numbers

Number of Employees: 267

Number of Offices: 3 – Boston, San Francisco, Seattle

Average Booking Time Before Lola.com: 3 Days

Average Booking Time After Lola.com: 10 minutes

Lola.com is the spend management solution that keeps you on budget.


About the Author: Emily Parker-Woodland
Emily was the Marketing Programs Manager at Lola.com from 2015-20. She started at Lola.com as a Wombat (our Travel Services team), and has a wide array of travel knowledge.