Barcelona-based Glovo is an app-based, on-demand delivery service predominantly specializing in takeaway food but also in groceries, gifts and more. The company’s business travel needs have increased rapidly in the five years since it was launched in 2015.
In the early days, its relatively modest business travel requirements were handled by the organization’s office manager, for whom booking trips was just one element of a multi-faceted role—a familiar set-up for many SMEs. But as the company grew, so did its travel needs, which were taking up increasingly more of the office manager’s time.
Seeking better oversight of its travel spend, the ability for employees to self-book online, and improved duty-of-care processes, Glovo began talking to a number of travel management companies. It was also important to the company to consolidate all bookings in one place—no matter what transport or accommodation was required—and to have access to a range of consumer content. After a thorough assessment of the market, TravelPerk ticked all the boxes and, as a tech company based in Barcelona, was also a good cultural fit.
“Around 60 percent of our clients have joined us from unmanaged backgrounds,” said Ross McNairn, chief product officer at TravelPerk. “We’re finding more and more that companies like Glovo, with small internal operational teams, are coming onboard looking for consumer content and north of 95 percent adoption of the tool. We’re also seeing a lot of companies come across from more formal travel programs too.”
A quick win for Glovo was improved productivity. “We used to waste a lot of time on the phone with airlines and hotels, so that was an instant benefit—the time-saving aspect,” said Daniel De Los Rios, who was brought onboard 18 months ago as Glovo’s first dedicated travel manager.
Today, the company operates in more than 20 countries and 400 cities and employs some 1,500 people. “Travel has grown very quickly as the business has grown,” said De Los Rios. “We are opening in new countries year after year, so we are seeing a lot of travel to new destinations.”
In normal circumstances Glovo typically books more than 500 trips a month comprising “day-to-day travel, relocations and people coming from around the world for interviews with us.”
Any company can access TravelPerk content and book trips without charge but, like most users, Glovo pays a flat fee to TravelPerk per trip which enables it to incorporate travel policies, approval processes and negotiated rates, among other benefits.
“Employees really like having everything in one place and the freedom to book their own travel,” De Los Rios said. “Our travel policy is in the system and we now have an approvals process in place. It’s been good to see more content being added too, such as Expedia and Booking.com.”
The vast majority of travel is now self-booked online by employees together with some offline bookings through agents, while 98 percent of all travel goes through TravelPerk. “The exceptions are mostly where someone is relocating but hasn’t actually joined the company yet,” De Los Rios said.
The move to a more structured environment also has helped with compliance. “The reporting is really good. We found a lot of trips in the past were outside of policy, but we’ve really been able to improve this. It’s very easy for us to see exceptions, and this has sometimes led to us adjusting our travel policy to better suit employees’ needs.”
With greater visibility of outgoings, Glovo has also been able to consolidate spend with suppliers and get access to corporate deals with several airlines and a hotel group that operates across Europe. The rates are loaded into the TravelPerk platform.
There have been significant duty-of-care wins too, which have taken on new significance in the current environment. “The ability to track our travelers is really important for us. We can see exactly who’s where and when, and who’s requesting what travel,” said De Los Rios.
“Right now we’re advising against business travel unless it’s absolutely necessary. Mostly it’s domestic within the markets we’re currently present in, but we’ve worked with TravelPerk to build in safety alerts if someone tries to book something they shouldn’t be booking or where they can’t actually travel to a destination because of border or quarantine issues. Volumes have reduced a lot, but we hope we can get back on track soon.”