Browser extensions? For business travel? Game changing.
Setting the scene
The world is demanding a lot from corporate travel professionals: provide better tech, but less of it, emphasize self-service, but don’t lose that human touch, and make sure everything is eco-friendly as well. Luckily, the adoption of Agile methodology into corporate travel has helped ease some of these stressors for travel managers by providing a scaled and iterative approach to modern challenges. But at the end of the day, so many of these changes hinge on human behavior, so why do we attempt to build frameworks that work against people, rather than with them?
Oftentimes, innovation is found in retread waters – and in this case, it’s found in a tried-and-true piece of the consumer toolkit: browser extensions.
You probably use browser extensions all the time. Things like PayPal Honey save you money by applying discount codes, Grammarly checks your spelling across the web, and LastPass creates and stores secure passwords. The main benefit of browser extensions is they are easy to install, constantly working in the background, and assist you in real-time during various workflows or tasks.
And as their name suggests, extensions simply expand on, or extend, the functionality of other sites.
Introducing the FCM Extension
Throughout 2020, we all found different ways to take up our quarantine time. Some baked, others knitted, and FCM focused on taking corporate travel tech to a new level. Then, in walked Shep, almost on cue.
Shep was a tool originally designed to reduce travel leakage, but FCM saw potential to push it further and incorporate browser extensions organically into every part of the corporate travel lifecycle. And in 2021, FCM fully acquired Shep, completing the transformation into the FCM Extension.
Get the message out
Knowledge is power, and it deters bad choices. Being in-the-know also just makes everyone’s lives simpler and reduces annoying workplace redundancies. The travel landscape can change on a dime, with policies needing updates and alterations in a matter of hours. To your travelers, change is at best inconvenient and at worst downright scary. Negative emotions can cause travelers to make some not-so-great decisions while booking – and this is where the FCM Extension comes in!
Instead of sending an email en masse and crossing your fingers, you can send company policy updates right where it matters most: at point-of-booking. Is your traveler browsing fares on American Airlines’ site and not in your OBT? The FCM Extension will pop in – there and on over 2,000 sites – to remind them to return to the OBT, link included. Have you changed the maximum reimbursable cost for accommodation? The Extension will shoot over a notification to travelers when they land on the hotel booking page. Does your traveler have unused tickets, credits, or vouchers? Remind them before they book so your program doesn’t miss out on the savings.
Just-in-time messaging support is your personal megaphone, without noise complaints or ear drum damage.
We only have one planet, and we’re all in this together when it comes to protecting it. But we work in corporate travel and getting on planes is a key part of our jobs. How can we ask travelers to make “greener” decisions, when the very act of getting on a plane, well, isn’t?
It turns out that you just need to provide evidence and options. For example, the FCM Extension shows sustainability alerts that are a biiiiit of a wake-up call. Being told your trip to San Diego has the equivalent carbon footprint of flying 10% of the distance to the Moon is sobering. But what’s even better is that the Extension can also show trip options that are better for the planet, including hotels. And if a rail alternative option for the trip exists, the Extension will make a very sensible suggestion: “Have you thought about taking the train?”
Organizations can also provide dynamic updates surrounding their sustainability initiative. Let your travelers know that your greener efforts are working. For example, send out a notification that announces eco-friendly travel choices have reduced your company’s carbon footprint!
Safety and risk, managed with a click
If you hadn’t heard, the global travel industry had to deal with quite the upheaval over the past few years. And with this crisis came a renewed emphasis on duty of care and protecting travelers while they hit the road and take to the skies, including from invisible threats. But sometimes travelers may be busy and they don’t read your risk pamphlet, or they accidentally delete your email alerts.
The FCM Extension is your safety sidekick. If a traveler is booking a trip in a location with sociopolitical unrest, you can trigger the Extension to warn them about the location. If there is a current disease outbreak, you can provide reminders about testing, entry requirements, and quarantine measures. Remember, this is all provided before they book, so you can quite literally stop a disaster before it happens.
Your final hurdle to adopting browser extension travel tech is your security and privacy teams. They’re always working so hard to keep your network safe and machines clean that a browser extension may set off all their red flags, including the popup blocker. Luckily, the FCM Extension plays nice with network security.
The FCM Extension can be deployed to designated browsers via a simple global push on the backend. There’s no need for each traveler to individually download the extension, opening up your network to security risks if they do it incorrectly. And the Extension is also secure - admins have very granular control over what data is captured and on which sites. If you don’t want to redirect searches on consumer sites, you can just enable the extension on your OBT.
In short, setup is agile and simple. And we’ll help you every step of the way.
Discover what’s next
You don’t need to take it from us that browser extensions are an A+ addition to your travel tech stack – our friends at Discovery Inc. can do that for us. Like many companies around the world, Discovery’s global travel operations took an unplanned pause in 2020. What at first seemed like a hindrance soon transformed into an opportunity to use the travel pause to not only create fixes, but to innovate. They found that opportunity with the FCM Extension.