Jay Walker, the inventor/entrepreneur who shook up the leisure travel industry with Priceline’s “name your own price” revolution, is now promising to shake up the $300B U.S. business travel industry with his new company, Upside.
Launching in about 10 weeks, Upside is the first mobile and web solution that business travelers can use to get fantastic benefits for themselves – and reduce travel costs for their companies. Travelers and companies get these benefits every time they buy their flights and hotels as a package.
“Most business travelers have a valuable, hidden asset that’s worth a small fortune on every trip they take,” said Walker.
“The asset? Flexibility. Specifically, small amounts of flexibility on the flights and hotels that a business traveler is willing to use on any given trip.”
“Before Upside,” Walker continued, “many business travelers simply accepted the myth that they couldn’t be flexible on business trips. Upside reveals a surprising truth. Plenty of travelers are willing to take a flight a little earlier than planned, or they are happy to stay at a top hotel a 5-minute Uber ride from the convention center — if they instantly earn hundreds of dollars in free Gift Cards to spend at a store or e-commerce site of their choice!”
“It turns out that little bits of flexibility are worth a lot of money,” says Walker. “On a typical domestic business trip, travelers who buy an Upside Package from us can expect to get $100 to $200 in free Gift Cards to spend at their choice of stores. International travelers typically get twice as much. And because Upside travelers choose to buy less-expensive flights and rooms, their companies naturally reduce travel costs by 5% to 15%.”
With benefits this good, Upside is a great choice for many business travelers, especially those who work for small and mid-sized companies that lack the travel advantages of the big guys. Fortune 500 companies with extensive travel rules and private discounts are not yet a good fit for Upside and, of course, the same is true for travelers who don’t have any flexibility on a particular trip. The target market for Upside is vast and the timing is right for a new solution.
Upside travelers who take just five or six trips a year can easily get a total of $1,000 in free Gift Cards every year. And, for those travelers who usually fly international Business Class, this total can go much higher.
Upside delivers your free Gift Cards to your phone soon after you purchase your trip – usually well before you travel – so you can start buying the things you want, at the stores you choose, right away.
And, you still get all the frequent flyer miles your flights entitle you to!
Companies will love Upside as much as business travelers do. By offering an irresistible employee benefit for being a little bit flexible, Upside encourages employees to voluntarily choose less-expensive travel options. This powerful “alignment of interests” is how Upside saves money for companies compared to what the same business trip would have cost without Upside.
Upside transforms each business traveler’s flexibility into both free Gift Cards and company savings by using a brand new class of software invented by Upside, the world’s first “Flexibility Engine.” The Engine makes the trip-buying process fast and easy, without affecting the critical business requirements of the trip in any way. The Engine powers the free iOS App, available late summer, and Upside.com.
To create an Upside Package, travelers specify the flight-time windows they need and pre-approve several travel brands they are willing to use (Upside supports all of the leading brands). Next, the Flexibility Engine chooses the specific flights and hotel from your pre-approved list – based on which ones deliver the most free Gift Cards and biggest savings – and then puts flights, rooms and Gift Cards into your package.
With Upside, there’s never an obligation to buy, and if you want to change anything before buying, the Flexibility Engine can often recalculate your package in just seconds. Upside knows that business travel plans change all the time. That’s why every Upside package is backed by 24/7 toll-free customer service, so last-minute changes or cancellations are no problem.
“The soft launch of Upside’s BETA version is planned for mid-September,” said Walker. “But we are inviting business travelers to become Upside VIPs starting today. If you like to try new things and get ahead of the crowd, you can be among the first to use Upside. VIP invites are available from View From the Wing and One Mile at a Time. You can also visit Upside.com to reach our partners and request a VIP Invite while supplies last.”
All VIPs receive a guaranteed $150 minimum in free Gift Cards for every Upside Package purchased in 2016 (see website for details). In addition, some VIPs will be invited to take part in shaping Upside’s product by testing pre-release versions of the Upside BETA.
“If you travel on business,” said Walker, “don’t you owe it to yourself to find out what your flexibility is really worth? With Upside, you’ll typically get hundreds of dollars of free Gift Cards at your choice of leading retail stores on every business trip you buy.”
“And because you decided to be a little bit flexible, your company will thank you for reducing those ever-growing travel costs. That’s why we say Upside is a real breakthrough.”
Starting soon, business travel will be all about the Upside!