CASE STUDY

How we helped Voya bring AI to business travel booking.

Intro

Corporate travel is a constant necessity in the globally connected economy and a giant 1.3tn USD industry. As research points out, business travelling can be a career highlight and still carries a premium allure for professionals. Nevertheless, nearly nothing creates more frustration for employees than researching the travel options that fit their internal regulations and get them to their destination in the easiest way possible – and don’t mention the hassle of preparing the paperwork for Finance and Accounting after returning from a trip.

Details

  • Platform: iOS and Android Native App, Web App, Travel Agent Web App, API
  • MVPF Team: 3 iOS / Android developers, 2 Java developers, 3 Angular developers, 1 Engagement Manager, 1 UI/UX Designers, 1 Engineering Manager and Travel industry domain experts on demand during Scoping and User-Testing Phase
  • Location: Hamburg, Germany and remote

Challenge

Having dedicated travel management teams is a luxury of the past for most companies. Nowadays, nearly all companies use some SAAS tool for their booking and travel management needs, and business travellers are tasked to research the best routes themselves and make sure that their chosen option matches their companies travel policy. Generally, those software solutions do work well with flights, but until recently no end-to-end omnichannel-travel solution was available in the market.

Having to book different travel segments on different platforms – and having to use yet another platform to book a hotel room at your final destination – is a tedious, annoying and highly impractical process for revenue-generating professionals. If one were to calculate the lost Net Income caused by travel booking in companies, one would be shocked to see how much many billions in potential company income are wasted each year solely by having employees organise their own travel schedules. Furthermore, not having unified, end-to-end ownership over multi-segment travel schedules is guaranteed to cause chaos and confusion in case of unavoidable delays or cancellations. What was thought to be a well organised and thought out trip to negotiate with a prospective major client is now just a stressful odyssey for and the deal was awarded to a “more reliable” Suppliers.

This subpar experience was precisely what drove Max Lober crazy, during a time when he needed to fly from Germany to India on a weekly basis while he was working for a consultancy. After the excitement of flying business class vanished and he found himself jetlagged and stuck in New Delhi without any connection, Max decided to take matters into his own hands. With his company Voya.ai, he and his Co-Founder Florian Stege leverage their frequent traveller knowledge to free up millions of hours of time wasted by travelling professionals and bring travel booking into the future by using the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence and Neural Language Processing.

Their vision was to develop a best-in-class, consumer-centric solution that ensures proper end-to-end management of complicated travel schedules and that provides personalised, real-time support 24/7/365. Voya aims to enable every business traveller across the world the opportunity to travel a bit more relaxed, knowing they can count on Voya to work their magic when things don’t go according to plan, or ad-hoc changes are necessary.

So, to put it into an elevator pitch line – Voya is your digital travel assistant whenever, wherever.

Solution

Voya initially approached MVP Factory pre-product, as they needed support in shaping their product roadmap, and wanted an overview of existing tools and frameworks that could be used to jumpstart development. After an intensive kick-off workshop with the project leads from both sides in Hamburg, MVP Factory started with a week-long Scoping phase. For the Scoping phase, MVP Factory brought industry savvy Product and UX experts onboard and compiled a designed hi-fi click dummy for the use in Voya’s initial investor pitches.

Our process
  • Scoping
    2 weeks
  • Design
    2 weeks
  • Development
    12 weeks
  • Testing
    3 weeks
  • Handover
    1 weeks
  • Iteration
    3 weeks

After a subsequent iterative phase of prototyping and user testing, MVP Factory built Voya’s MVP and then continued to develop a scalable microservice software architecture for web and mobile. The result is a tailor-made and intelligent, full-service travel software solution that serves as the backbone of Voya’s success.

Also, as a full-service partner, MVP Factory also supported Voya with business and strategic questions. By relying on the experience of the MVP Factory Elite pool, the partners jointly identified Voya’s main customer group to be SMEs with a high relative number of individually travelling professionals.

With that strategic insight in mind and real data from the user tests, Voya and MVP Factory were able to speed up the iteration cycles of the prototypes and MVP Factory staffed a development team of eight dedicated remote developers that dove right into the task. Over just a few sprints, Voya’s product was iterated to become an end-to-end omnichannel solution that leverages an NLP chat function and is easily tailored to individual travellers’ preferences. Furthermore, the service considers all applicable company regulations regarding price caps on flights and lodging, and electronically files travel expense reports in the format required by the relevant company.

  • MVP Factory has established itself as our trusted tech partner. They have supported us from first MVP till fully featured product and I am very happy to know that I can count on their flexibility and speed in the future.

    Maximilian Lober
    Maximilian Lober
    Co-Founder

The automatic, electronic filing feature has especially proven to be a game changer for Voya, as it makes their clients’ Accounting departments very happy – and as you may know from your own experience, once Accounting is happy, everyone is happy!

After this product allowed Voya to close a funding round from prominent Angel and VC-investors successfully, MVP Factory handed over the ongoing development and maintenance to Voya’s in-house development team. MVP Factory now supports Voya with on-demand Managed Team solutions when Voya needs to scale-up development resources on short notice.

Results

All in all, Voya invested around EUR 50.000 over five months into their project with MVP Factory, which yielded them an app that would continue to be downloaded over a million times and turn their early-stage startup into a company with more than 30 employees.

As Voya’s Co-Founder and CEO Max Lober pointed out, their MVP Factory team always were on top of their game, and he was able to build up a healthy and tangible relationship with the MVPF Elites which appears to be vital for delivering amazing results.

Max continues to be very happy with MVP Factory and is one of our most vocal referrers and has recommended our services to other companies with similar ambitions. His company – Voya – continues to thrive and brings his vision of hassle-free business travel to ever more clients across the world. Find out what they’re up to at the moment and visit their website.

Industry

  • Travel

Platform

Tech used

Angular, Java, Objective-C / Swift, Kotlin, IBM Watson, JavaScript

Stats

  • Calendar21 weeks
  • People7 people

Capabilities used

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