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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 9 months ago

Entertainment giant targets savings on travel expenses

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New York company cites Feld Entertainment in a case study of its travel budget reduction program.

For a company with multimillion-dollar annual travel costs  — say north Manatee County-based entertainment production giant Feld — it takes some disruptive innovation to put a dent in the budget.

That dent, at least for Feld, comes from Rocketrip.

The New York City firm, founded in 2013, helps companies reduce travels costs through an employee-reward system — what it calls incentivized behavioral change. The Rocketrip program, which complements a company’s current travel program or online booking tool, rewards employees who choose less costly choices when booking flights, trains, hotels and rental cars. Those more economic choices, the company says, include booking in advance, using a low-cost carrier or avoiding hotel costs by staying with family or friends.

The rewards? For one, employees who spent less than their Rocketrip budget get to keep a portion of the savings they generate. Employees can also receive gift cards from Amazon, Nike, Sephora and others, make charitable donations and even earn free plane tickets.

The key to Rocketrip’s success, says founder and CEO Dan Ruch, is to align employee and employer interests, where employees feel part of the process. Then, when an employee saves the company money in travel, they get a piece of the action.

Rocketrip, backed by Silicon Valley venture capital firms and with business clients that include Twitter, makes money off a subscription fee it charges based on clients’ travel budgets.

“Any company policy allows for optimization,” Ruch tells Coffee Talk, adding that Rocketrip’s niche is in finding ways to “motivate, inspire and reward employees” for complying with an employer’s policies.

Palmetto-based Feld has had so much success with Rocketrip, the production powerhouse was recently the focus of a Rocketrip case study.

Feld Entertainment, on average, saved $289 per trip using the Rocketrip system, the case study shows. That includes spending 17% less on airfare across comparable routes. On hotels meanwhile, when Feld employees going across the world for shows use Rocketrip, the company spends 54% less than its historical averages for hotels.

Nikki Loescher, a manager in event marketing and sales for Feld, says in the study that she “absolutely loves Rocketrip,” adding that it makes “the traveler feel appreciated while incentivizing them to save.”

(This story was updated to reflect the names of Rocketrip’s business clients.)

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