Bruce McIndoe (pictured)
, CEO of iJET Travel Intelligence
, has been named one of the 25 most influential people in the travel industry by Business Travel News magazine, the leading publication in the business travel industry.
With a background as owner of a software intelligence company, Bruce McIndoe had the tools to build a travel intelligence company for the corporate travel market two years before corporations would scramble to assess traveler security systems to arm themselves against a rapidly changing world. In May 2002, IJet`s acquisition of risk consulting company Kroll Inc.`s Kroll Information Service gave IJet 100 additional clients, a minority investment from Kroll and a vote of confidence from an established corporate security services company that IJet`s security data had set a new industry standard.
In turn, IJet this year will expand the suite of services it offers to corporate clients—currently totaling 240—including cross-marketing with Kroll, and plans to announce two more “Kroll-size” partnerships for a late January announcement.
“From a small idea about health intelligence, Bruce has been the visionary to make a full travel security business,” said John Power, chairman of IJet. “He has tapped a huge need.”
“Bruce is clearly the individual that has built our system and technology and what I think is our key pieces of our competitive advantage—being driven by a technological platform that allows us to do things that others can`t,” said IJet COO Marty Pfinsgraff, who with McIndoe spearheaded the Kroll deal.
By 2002, corporations were completing their post-Sept. 11, 2001, evaluations of available security tools, including traveler tracking tools rapidly introduced by the mega travel management companies. IJet`s proactive push of “targeted” updates to travelers, based on a traveler`s location, gender, etc., appealed to many. The updates are pushed out to travelers through selected technologies—an improvement upon security information that required travelers to do their own searching on or from corporate intranets.
As opposed to basic travel tracking tools, IJet`s advantage lies in these direct-to-traveler updates, Pfinsgraff said. “The travel agencies have not thought a great deal about the communications piece. Intelligence is only good if someone gets it, otherwise it`s a tree falling in the forest.” In 2002, TQ3, Total Travel Management and WorldTravel BTI partnered with Ijet to offer destination reports and traveler tracking to clients.
Though corporate budgets in 2003 still are constrained, IJet officials are finding that security budgets are being protected, even if the money is being drawn from other areas.
“We were trying to accomplish the aggregation of information that`s needed by a traveler,” McIndoe said, “and change the mindset from companies and suppliers from being totally reactive to the traveler`s need to being proactive and helping the traveler avoid problems in the first place.”
Evidencing 2001`s rapid change in priorities, IJet didn`t immediately soar after the formal launch of WorldCueTraveler at NBTA`s July 2001 annual conference. “We hit two huge roadblocks: One, the mentality of the travel industry market that was not willing to provide what they perceived as negative information to their travelers, for fear that they wouldn`t travel,” McIndoe said, and that year`s commission cuts. IJet did not get the traction it sought with travel agencies, and from there went directly to corporations just prior to Sept. 11.
At that time, IJet still presented an argument of investment-protection to companies. “We`d say, `If 10 percent of your travel is international but it comprises 50 percent of your spend, don`t you want to protect that spend? How do you make that be a more productive investment?` ” Pfinsgraff said. “After Sept. 11, that all changed. Corporations were laser-focused on real-time intelligence. Companies wanted to know what`s affecting them, where their people were and how to communicate with them. That`s where our whole marketing approach changed, and clearly it`s been corporations that have been driving our business.”
“No one was addressing an integrated information product that provided the traveler with `Now,` that gap between today and when that good guidebook was published,” McIndoe said. “That was the hole in the market.’”
Related stories on ITN:
(28/11/2002) InTouch & iJET Partnership Enhances Traveller Security
(06/11/2002) iJET and Roadpost Partner to Keep Travelers Informed
(11/09/2002) Baseops and iJET Partnership Announced