A new travel app, Seateroo, will offer travel managers and business travelers a new tool to reduce travel costs and improve traveler satisfaction.
Travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses, behind salaries and benefits, are the second largest category of controllable expenses. In 2015, U.S. business travel expenses will reach $300 billion on 500 million business trips. Air travel is by far the largest category of T&E expense: Fortune 500 companies spend 36% of their T&E budgets on air travel.
Seateroo, launching in January 2016, will create an online market where ticketed air travelers can swap seats in exchange for electronic payment. With this two-sided market, buyers are unhappy with their seat location and are willing to pay to swap for a desired seat. Sellers, in return for being paid, are willing to swap for a less desired seat.
Based upon a survey by Seateroo, a significant portion of air travelers are willing to either pay or be paid to swap seats. For example, on flights of at least 3.5 hours, 39% are willing to pay to swap from a middle seat to an aisle seat, while 44% are willing to pay to swap from an economy seat to a premium seat.
In addition, the Seateroo survey revealed that air travelers will pay significant amounts to swap for a better seat. To swap out of a middle seat, 26% would pay at least $50. To swap from an economy to a premium seat, 18% would pay at least $100. At an average domestic roundtrip flight cost of $379, business travelers using Seateroo to swap for a less desired seat for one or both flights could significantly reduce their travel costs.
In addition, business travelers frequently book air travel at the last minute. For such travelers, if they are willing to pay to do so, Seateroo could be used to get a better seat.
“Travel managers are tasked with reducing travel costs and improving traveler satisfaction.” said Brad Pursel, Founder and President of Seateroo. “After a trip has been booked, Seateroo can be used to either reduce travel costs or enhance traveler satisfaction. For businesses that share travel savings with its employees, it’s a win-win.”