TravelBank uses machine learning to save businesses money on travel

A new mobile app brings a Snapchat-like interface to expensing

Figuring out how much a business trip will cost can be a hassle. Employees are often put in the position of figuring out how to get somewhere, and once they get there, they don't have an incentive to keep their spending to a minimum.

A new startup called TravelBank is aiming to help by providing a predictive budget for a trip, based on when someone is traveling and where they're going. After that, it helps them document their spending and file an expense report that shows how much money they've spent against their budget.

More than just helping employees capture expenses, TravelBank is focused on helping to change their behavior so they spend less money. Companies that adopt TravelBank for expense reporting can elect to give employees who spend less than the predicted budget half of what they saved.

Using TravelBank without any incentives will reduce a company's travel expenses by around 10 percent, based on the experience of early testers, company founder Duke Chung said in an interview. Paying employees for their savings leads to a 20 to 30 percent savings, including the money paid out for staying under budget. Either way, users are less likely to blow out their budgets and over spend.

TravelBank's budgets are based on a combination of machine learning-driven predictive expense models. Companies can set restrictions on what sort of travel employees are allowed to book, and TravelBank will spit out a budget based on the restrictions.

The service's ground transportation estimate is based on an economy rental car, and its per diem for meals is based on suggestions from the U.S. General Services Administration.

It's possible for anyone to start using TravelBank by downloading the company's app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. In addition to the travel expensing feature, TravelBank also supports project budgets, so groups of people can work together to track the expenses for a particular event like a product launch.

TravelBank is free at the moment -- Chung said that the company hasn't yet settled on a model for making money off its service. Right now, the company is focused on helping smaller and medium-sized companies that don't have dedicated employees focusing on managing expenses and setting policies about what's acceptable.

Expense reporting is already a tough business, with companies like Concur offering similar services aimed at larger businesses. It'll be interesting to see if TravelBank can break in.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?