Best Travel Startups for Business Travel

Best Travel Startups for Business Travel


Entrepreneurs are transforming the travel industry. The days of relying on an internal or external travel agent might be coming to an end. Why? Travel start-ups are taking the travel-and-hospitality industry by storm. 

Furthermore, each travel start-up can offer a rewarding corporate travel experience that many larger travel-management companies and individual travel agents can’t. 

But don’t worry—if you’re not familiar with exactly how travel start-ups are changing the way businesses manage their travel, we’ve got you covered. This article will explain everything you need to know about the evolving world of corporate travel services

What you need to know about travel start-ups

According to the UK-based Courier, travel start-ups saw almost £3.9 billion ($5.03 billion) in venture capital funding in 2017. Here’s why.

How can travel start-ups help business travelers?

Each travel start-up operates on a robust e-commerce platform that can book any mode of corporate travel, from individual cross-country flights to full-company meetings, with just a few clicks. 

Why should business travelers know about travel start-ups?

Many travel start-ups are staffed with hospitality industry professionals trained in corporate travel management to make booking corporate travel as seamless as possible (and a better travel experience) for their clients. 

How can you tell whether a travel start-up is the right one?

More and more, travel start-ups are focusing on the needs of business travelers rather than just corporate administrators. Watch for those offering individualized employee services, such as 24/7 traveler-profile management. 

Travel start-up pros and cons

While helpful, travel start-ups aren’t perfect.

What are warning signs to look out for?

Watch for cost inflation and service fees. Many travel-management companies charge customers every time they book a business trip, which can quickly add up. Look for travel companies that don’t charge a fee for every service interaction. 

What are the pros and cons?

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to using a travel start-up.


  • They keep on-the-go travel organized and booking seamless.
  • They enable worldwide travel booking from a single platform.



  • They don’t generally offer face-to-face support.
  • They’re limited to providing services only through partners that exist in their network. Travel start-ups with fewer partnerships and integrations can’t always provide customers with the extensive inventory of flight, hotel and rental-car options they need.

How to choose a travel start-up

Reviews will be your best bet in picking the right one. But don’t leave us just yet—let’s help you start your search. 

What should you look for?

Look for a platform with a plethora of hospitality-industry partnerships. The more partnerships, the more options you have for your travel, which can help you save time and money.

How do you know whether a travel start-up has proper licensing?

You should be able to find business-licensing information on company websites. If not, call your travel manager or home-based travel agent. 

Why should you select a travel start-up over established agencies?

Travel start-ups are less expensive than established agencies and offer more individualized incentives for customers, such as loyalty programs that enable on-the-go rewards collection. They’re also better at quickly improving their product and focused on using new technologies and features.

Top travel start-ups

What are the top travel start-ups? Here are Spend Journal’s top 5 of 12 picks:

  • Lola
  • TravelPerk
  • AirBnb for Work
  • TravelBank
  • Flightfox


How can you find successful travel start-ups?

Use social media and online reviews to find the right platform. In addition, research products and services. If you find some that are too good to be true, they probably are—a red flag for any company, especially travel agencies.

What travel start-up apps are available?

Most start-ups have their own mobile app for download. Each app uses a robust e-commerce platform and travel-and-expense-management solution, making credit card payment safe and secure, even on the road. 

Booking and managing your corporate trip with a travel start-up are like giving each traveler their own full-service travel-and-hospitality pocket agent. The future of travel tech is here—and it’s here to stay.

About the Author: Kathleen Burns
Kathleen Burns was a Content Marketing Associate at from 2019-20.