Business Travel Management Software and Innovation—Deem Makes the Fast Company List

May 3, 2022

Each year, Fast Company selects its Most Innovative Companies, a collection of 500-plus organizations that are reshaping industries, businesses, and the way we live our lives every day. Established behemoths such as Microsoft and SpaceX routinely grace the prestigious winner’s list.

We’re thrilled and honored to be named #3 in the Travel top ten of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Travel Companies of 2022. This award is Fast Company’s signature event and one of its most highly anticipated efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.

Deem is being recognized for considering the human side of business travel, and the win highlights our rapid response to Covid-19 in our Etta platform. It’s certainly no secret that Covid threw the travel industry into major upheaval; there were so many disruptions in so little time with no discernible path forward.

But the pandemic also afforded us the time and opportunity to listen even more carefully to our users and improve every piece of functionality with their travel safety in mind.

Corporate travel software for travelers first 

When we started our platform redesign journey, our goal was to create a new kind of booking software experience for travelers, first. Of course, we’re enabling business travelers to book and manage all parts of their trips, including flights, hotels, and car rentals. But we believed the industry was missing a business travel booking software that travelers love using—one that was made for the people doing the travel. 

We assembled a diverse team, from across multiple disciplines, and then thoughtfully researched and planned. Then we built travel management software using a mobile-first philosophy, human-centered design, and a detailed approach to streamlining every part of business trip management. And just over a year ago, we made it easier to travel anywhere with the launch of Etta.

When we introduced Etta—at our virtual Miles Ahead event in February 2021—the pandemic was in full swing. So, knowing some people still needed to travel through many unknowns and rapidly changing regulations, we quickly added safety and wellness information for travelers into the Etta booking flow. Travelers can now see mask regulations and cleaning protocols for airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. There are even current and historic Covid-19 caseload maps for destinations right where they need it most—when they’re booking a trip.

Through our partnership with GeoSure, we made certain our new feature not only provides always-updating pandemic-related information, but also safety guidelines that remain relevant even after the concerns of Covid recede. We provide hyperlocal destination safety information that helps keep in mind the concerns of our solo and women travelers, for instance, and other safety anxieties travelers may have. All our users’ preferences and memberships are stored so that each experience is tailored to them. 

We call the result of these efforts Travel SafetyCheck. It’s a feature that has already won its own awards and played a big part in this distinction as well. SafetyCheck lets us tackle real-time, pandemic-triggered travel challenges and traveler pain points along the way.

Since creating opportunities to lead the travel industry is paramount to us at Deem, we’re imagining and building new features, such as our integration with Uber for Business. This first-of-its-kind feature lets travelers schedule or book a ride to the airport within the Etta app, where the rest of the trip details are contained. So travelers get the convenience of one-app scheduling. And the added benefit for travel managers is more detail about their travelers’ spending on ride hail. Before now, this was a hidden expense travel managers could only guess at.

And with sustainability on everyone’s minds, our newest feature, EcoCheck, is another important update for travelers. In EcoCheck, we’re doing more than only delivering carbon emissions information on flights, hotels and car rentals. We’re making it easy for travelers—and their employers—to understand what the data means with contextual information and specific scores. So the information is relevant and actionable. 

Deem’s future of business travel

Earning the #3 Most Innovative Companies in Travel is hugely motivating for all of us here at Deem. It tells us we’re on the right path, and continuing to use our research and travelers’ needs to guide us is appreciated by all. Every day, we’re listening and doing what we need for our clients and travelers to be successful; we’re not just doing what our competitors are doing.   

Hopefully travel will soon fully recover. When it does, we’ll be positioned to help people get back on the road in an educated way. Our users will know what’s going on and the latest rules, and can make data-based travel decisions.

 We built our platform through Covid—not only to be about Covid in terms of what our travelers should know, but with a broader functionality of options from the duty of care standpoint. We want our users to be the best they can be when they travel, and our platform was built specifically with that in mind. 

What makes us unique in the marketplace is that we listen to our customers. We listen to the decision-maker implementing Etta for their organization, and we listen to the traveler. We want our product to make all of our users happy. Etta is more than an online booking tool—it’s a travel companion created to delight and empower anyone who uses it.

Leading a team through uncertain times

It’s an honor for me to accept the Most Innovative Company award for Deem, but this award wouldn’t wouldn’t have been possible without the Deem team. I’ve been in the trenches with them through the last few years and I’ve seen the creativity and collaboration, their passion for building great products and making our customers lives easier. 

This award, and all the others we’ve won over the last year—16 and counting!— is possible because we spend a lot of our time focusing on hiring and retaining the best talent possible. We hire people with big ideas, inspired by our travelers' and customers' needs, and then we work at bringing those ideas to life. This award is truly a testament to the culture we’ve built at Deem and I couldn’t be prouder.

We’ll continue to listen to every one of our users and implement their feedback into upgrades and new functionality. While we’re excited and validated to be chosen for Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies award, this is just the beginning. Every day, we’re leveraging technology to change travel—making it easier to travel anywhere in the world is our mission. 

Look for even bigger things coming from us later this year.

Discover what other Etta users know. Talk to one of our amazing D(r)eem Team staff and see what Etta can do.

Author

David Grace
President, Deem

David Grace is an accomplished travel industry veteran with more than two decades of experience leading strategic and management teams for Enterprise Holdings and National Car Rental, and most recently, Deem, Inc. Having been an integral part of the 2019 acquisition of Deem by Enterprise Holdings and then signing on as Deem’s Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Grace was named President at Deem in November 2020. Grace began his career at National Car Rental and quickly moved into leadership roles, including Vice President of Sales and Vice President of Strategic Accounts, where he led nationwide sales. He later transitioned into executive roles at Enterprise Holdings and, currently, at Deem. Grace is a global travel and mobility thought leader, and a well-known industry speaker. He frequently presents at live and virtual events around the world for industry organizations including Business Travel News and GBTA, and is quoted regularly in trade publications.

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