An AI platform designed to help businesses manage corporate travel spend is being introduced as an “industry first” by Travelport and IBM.

The IBM Travel Manager platform uses IBM Watson capabilities to track, manage, predict and analyse travel costs in one place.

This will “fundamentally change” how companies manage and optimise their travel programmes, the two technology firms claimed.

Delivered via the IBM Cloud, the platform features advanced artificial intelligence, and provides cognitive computing, predictive data analytics using “what-if” type scenarios.

It also uses integrated travel and expense data to help travel management teams, procurement category managers, business units, finance and human resource departments optimise their travel programmes, control spend and enhance the traveller experience.

IBM Travel Manager gives users unified access to previous siloed information, which, when combined with travel data from the Travelport global distribution system, is then used to create real-time predictive analytics recommending how adjustments in travel booking behaviour patterns can positively impact a company’s travel budget.

The platform features an interactive dashboard that offers end-to-end visibility of travel spending, the ability to create alerts and notifications, predictive and pre-defined spending trend analysis, and natural language understanding to analyse text and uncover insights from structured and unstructured data.

Travelport chief customer and marketing officer, Fiona Shanley, said: “IBM Travel Manager, with Travelport’s data, is unlike any traditional travel spend reporting solution currently available today from travel management companies, suppliers, corporate booking tools or other third parties.

“While other solutions only provide a fragmented historical picture, IBM Travel Manager combines and normalizes data from all key sources, allowing for more robust insights and benchmarking than other reporting solutions.”

IBM Industry client leader for travel and transportation, Elizabeth Pollock, added: “IBM and Travelport are using the power of AI to unlock previously unavailable insights from multiple internal and external data sources.

“Travel managers can use this information to proactively drive improved supplier negotiations via real time and holistic data, enable budget holders to understand and change spending patterns, and improve travel policy compliance monitoring.”