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Below is a guest post from someone who travels for business and shared their experience using the site Upside for their travel needs. I’ve personally used Upside before as well and had a great experience as well!
My professional roots lay both in the large corporate world and in building startups. In my current role, I am leading sales and marketing at a mid-sized technology and service solutions company. Many don’t realize the time and effort involved in planning a business travel trip – let alone optimizing business travel for a team. It could be a serious pain point for those in leadership positions, like myself–especially when travel budget is a major line item on your P&L.
Lowering business travel costs is crucial for small to medium sized business leaders. But, it’s easier said than done.
I typically book directly on the airline and hotels’ official websites. But, that was before coming across Upside earlier this year. Built for the do-it-yourself business traveler, Upside immediately stood out to me. Their value proposition was clear: better prices, better service, better rewards – – those are the business travel necessities my team needed – especially because access to large corporate services is typically a cost-prohibitive option SMBs.
So I gave it a try and I’m hooked.
When I first started using Upside their features were limited and they only sold flights and hotels together as a package. In the past year Upside has heard feedback from travelers like me and continues to significantly improve features and functionalities on both its website and mobile app. I have yet to try them all but their upgrades continue to be in line with the needs of today’s business traveler. For example:
- À la carte travel options such as one-way flights (but you do save more if you buy travel together)
- Multi-traveler bookings (valuable when booking with a team member)
- Rental car by Hertz and ridesharing by Uber (perfect for any part of a business trip)
- Starbucks card for the duration of your trip is ‘cool’ to have (available for a limited time in their in-app offers)
These features didn’t crop up overnight, and they weren’t perfect on first delivery. But I have found that the Upside team works through the bugs and listens to their customers. I believe their team is working hard to become the one-stop-shop for all things business travel.
There are four reasons Upside has worked for me and could work for others too:
- There are immediate travel budget savings. I always compare booking travel on Upside vs. other sites (specifically looking at the individual options) and consistently find that packaging on Upside is more cost effective than booking travel individually.
- You have visibility to overall travel spend and the platform serves as a one-stop-shop for all of your business travel needs. The whole process is eased by booking your hotel, flight, and ride all in one place. On the flip side, Upside has some work to do on the account profile front–I’d love to see things like how much money I’ve spent as well as how much I saved over a time period vs booking individually.
- Unlike any other OTA, Upside offers a unique benefit of getting gift cards while saving money on overall booking. There are more savings and more gift cards for bundling multiple travel options. However, like other travel sites, one misses on hotels points or elite qualifying dollars for some hotels and airlines.
- The biggest benefit though, is access to a live customer service agent at all times. Upside has put together an excellent support group called “Navigators” to help with any travel related need before, during, and after a business trip. Chicago O’Hare is my home airport (and I love it) but travel disruptions happen more often than they don’t, and the Navigators have been there for me every step of the way, every time, with zero wait. Chat, email, telephone, even social media–they’re on it, and by “they” I mean a real, breathing human with a pulse.
As Upside continues to grow and enhance its services, I’m looking forward to seeing how Upside evolves to fill the huge void in today’s business travel ecosystem. Both my hopes and expectations are high for what to expect from Upside in the future. It will be interesting to see what they add next and if they continue to listen to customers like me. I guess we’ll see.
If you travel for business, you should give them a try. Use the code TRYUPSIDE at checkout to score $150 in gift cards when you book your first business trip with Upside (direct link is here). Refer your friends and colleagues for even more rewards. It’s just another perk of using Upside that I like–maybe you will too