According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) barometer, professional air travel saw a rebound of 11.8% in 2022, after a historic disruption caused by the health crisis. But if traffic picks up, business travel may not be what it used to be. Laurent La Rocca, CEO of business travel booking software The Treep, explains in this interview how companies are reinventing the way they maintain their working relationships remotely, in order to reduce their carbon footprint and expenses.
How did you come up with the idea to create The Treep?
The idea to create The Treep came up in 2016 with my partner Pierre-François Verbecque. We were originally in large groups as it was common to do a lot of business trips around Europe and internationally.
We realized that the travel booking tools were outdated; Especially with regards to the sophisticated ergonomics of reservation-type vacation booking software. Exchanges with travel agencies are often endless, and our software saves a lot of time when buying train or plane tickets or renting a car.
Of a certain size, organizations are interested in calling us as we are
Broker to avoid excessive volume of expense reports and thus avoid employee cash gaps.
How do you promote a more responsible business travel model?
At the time of COP21 in 2015, we told ourselves we had to reinvent business travel from an environmental point of view. In other words, to allow companies to work towards reducing the carbon footprint of their business travels.
For example, to compare the train to the plane on the Paris-Marseille journey, we show in particular the total duration of the journey (plus the duration of the main transport all additional times: transfer times of arrival or departure from airports or stations and times of boarding and disembarking)
In addition, we also compare possible transportation solutions from a carbon footprint angle. This highlights that, on the same journey, an airplane emits 80 times more carbon dioxide than a train.
But the user has the last word and it remains our role to encourage him to prefer the least emission mode of transport according to his needs. The useful time in transfer is also highlighted. Also, the potential working time on the train compared to the plane is much higher.
How did it survive the crisis and the total closure of civil aviation?
It was only in 2019 that we saw very strong utilization of our products and then Covid halted our progress. We have had the opportunity to raise funds several times especially from the Territories Bank and IMA shares
But I’m not going to lie: it was still a complicated section. Thanks to our shareholders, we were able to overcome this crisis and seize the opportunity to express and deepen our model. We are also very cautious about market volatility and do not subscribe to the idea of unlimited growth; However, it is not possible in a finite world.
This thinking is sometimes sad because the state will not always be there to save us in the event of a crisis. If we want to make our business model compatible with planetary boundaries, we have to completely reinvent it. The “+ travel = + money” logic is simply ecocide and fluctuates a lot depending on context. This is why we have created a subscription system to better deal with uncertainties in the market and not be too dependent on the number of flights taken.
Can you do business without traveling?
This is the great dilemma companies have had to contend with since the end of the health crisis: Can we maintain business relationships only remotely? At The Treep, our research and development efforts focus on commercializing a decision support tool that determines whether or not a trip is necessary. Several criteria are explored: replaceable trip? On-site experience necessary? The financial stake of the meeting is high? meeting frequency?
In our view, there will always be a need to meet customers face to face, but our goal remains to help companies eliminate unnecessary travel and find a balance between remote and physical businesses. Other solutions are also possible, such as finding a meeting place equidistant between two companies.
But it is clear that there are trips that cannot be low carbon – such as the Paris and New York trip – and some compensation mechanisms are being planned, such as reforestation projects. But in my opinion, this should not be the main measure that allows companies to buy conscientiously.
A true innovator and shareholder embeds this countervailing measure in its overall mission but does not create a direct relationship with its activity to deliver a cleaner carbon footprint.
<< اقرأ أيضًا: مارك دولوا ، الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة VMware France: "نريد أن نصبح الشركة الرائدة في مجال التهجين في عالم العمل والسحابة" >>>