Episode 015: Travel Platforms with Mike Volpe
The world of corporate travel has changed a lot in the past few years. First of all, travel expenses have continued to rise, making it harder for businesses to maintain a steady bottom line. Additionally, more and more employees are expected user-friendly systems and travel platforms, which means that companies can’t always go with the most cost-effective option.
Today, I’m speaking with Mike Volpe, CEO of Lola.com, a corporate travel platform that has been making big waves within the industry. We discuss how Lola has become such a beloved program and how their success can help businesses create better travel packages for employees. Here are some highlights from the show.
An End-User Focused Experience
One of the biggest challenges that apps like Lola face is that the people paying for the product aren’t necessarily the ones using it. The financial department of a company is looking to save as much money as possible, while it’s the employees and sales staff that are actually using the program regularly.
At its worst, this disconnect can cause massive amounts of friction and lead to low adoption rates, unless the company requires it. Fortunately, Lola has been able to alleviate that tension by focusing on the end-user experience. Instead of modeling the software on other B2B travel sites, Mike and his team learned from consumer-focused platforms like Kayak and Booking.
Taking that approach has made the app increasingly popular among companies that deploy it. Workers are happier, adoption rates are phenomenal, and the business still gets to save money. It’s a win-win-win scenario.
On Being Lightweight and Mobile Friendly
A big reason why Lola is so desirable for both users and businesses is that it’s much more cost-effective than alternatives. The onboarding process is smooth and fast, meaning that companies can often do it themselves. Rather than spending hours training employees on how to use the software, most users can start booking a trip within minutes.
There are a few specific elements in the development process that also make the app more appealing and streamlined.
- Mobile-First Approach – the software was born on smaller screens, so users don’t lose any functionality by booking on their phones.
- Incremental Improvements – most apps focus on the prominent, shiny features that get the most attention. Lola makes tons of small adjustments based on user feedback that makes the app even easier to use.
- Consumer-Based Tools – most people have booked a trip using a site like Booking or Kayak, so they’re familiar with how it works. Since Lola uses similar menus and options, users don’t have to learn a whole new system to book a trip.
Overall, one of the things Mike said that stood out was the fact that the finance people at companies get comments from employees about how much they love Lola. Usually, the ones choosing the system are happy with no feedback, but Mike and his team have created something that everyone loves to use.
We talk a lot more about corporate travel and the industry at large, so be sure to check out the rest of the episode here. Also, you can learn more about Lola at www.lola.com.