By Hayley Axford
Booking travel arrangements, although relatively easy, is a tedious process and often you end up paying more than you should. With Africa’s rapidly growing business opportunities, corporate travel has increased a great deal, with companies using travel agents to book various flights and accommodation for travelling employers and employees. However, with the current economic climate, the services of travel agents is just another expense, which results in companies making use of online booking and doing it themselves.
A mobile app has been developed, named Lia
, which acts as your personal travel assistant. This tool simplifies the process of business travel, eliminating the frustration that comes with making travel arrangements. According to Nick Smit, Business Manager of Lia, “Businesses using Lia are saving in excess of 20% on their travel spend, having more productive business trips, and benefitting from easy access to their travel itinerary and booking information”.
Smit, along with his team from 24.com, developed the Android and iOS app in April 2014, initially only rolling it out to all Media24 staff by August last year. A year since its development, the app is now being offered to staff at MultiChoice, the behind DSTV, M-Net and MWEB.
The app is fast and friendly and was clearly designed with bookers and travellers in mind. Lia makes flight bookings on Kulula, Mango, South African Airways (SAA) and British Airways (BA). Lia also books accomodation and covers a wide range of hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. Other bookings include car hire and shuttle services.
3-step booking system
“With a quick three-step booking process, choosing a flight or booking a hotel has never been easier,” said Nick Smit. Lia will not only find you the best travel offer, but all changes and cancellations will be “handled seamlessly”.
- Search for flight, hotel, car or shuttle with the multi-search option and Lia will find all the relevant options for you.
- Pick one of the most cost-effective options that Lia has selected for you. Once you have chosen your travel arrangement, Lia will ask for details of your trip and passengers.
- Book – create your trip and submit for approval. Your approver will then receive a message requesting booking confirmation. You will not be charged until your booking has been approved.
- View all your booking details: all your booking details and flight ticket references are conveniently shown in the app.
- Get directions: You will never get lost as Lia provides the directions to all your trips on the day.
- Catch an Uber: If you do not have transport, you can effortlessly request an Uber taxi directly from the Lia app.
- Claim an expense: You can snap a picture and generate a PDF summary so that you can claim all your expenses.
- Book and approve on the go: Booking doesn’t require a computer, you can book and approve flights right from within the app.
- Frequent flyer: You can add your frequent flyer details to ensure that you earn points/miles on your flights.
- Set up your company approvals: Follow a straightforward process to set up your company’s approval workflow, where you can specify exactly who can approve travel arrangements. You are also given the option to delegate a secondary or master approver.
- Reconcile: This enables you to check and confirm your booking every step of the way. You can also compare amounts that were approved (purchase orders) to what was invoiced, measure the variance and log a dispute if necessary.
- Balance: You can stay in control by reviewing your up-to-date account statement. All expense invoices can be viewed by selecting a specific time period. This can be exported to Excel for a more detailed analysis.
Lia customers have given great testimonials on the service that they have received. Paul Bertie, CFO of Media24 Commerce says that “Lia has streamlined the way we plan, book and approve our business travel”. Hayley Stuart, Administrator at Spree has said that she loves using Lia and believes it to be an easy to navigate system. “It is reliable, promptly providing and highlighting the most cost-effective travel options available”, said Stuart.
Business travel is changing and Lia
has invited you to join them on their journey. With this mobile app, you have access to your travel arrangements on the go and can use it anywhere.