Ten months into his current role as Country Manager Bolt Business Romania, Business Review sat down with Daniel Simion to talk about the recent results announced by the company, over 400% Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) growth in 2022, and also about the future plans and objectives he has for Bolt Business.
You recently announced a 400% global and local growth for Bolt Business. What led to these results?
This record performance was influenced by two main factors: the industry continuing its post-pandemic recovery and employees’ desire to collaborate with colleagues in person. Many companies adopted a hybrid work model, while others decided a full return to the office. As an employee, when you’ve spent so much time working remotely, dealing with rush-hour traffic, parking, travel and fuel costs can be quite a challenge. Thus, Bolt Business came in and offered companies a reliable solution to capitalize on the time spent in traffic, worry less about finding a parking spot on a busy street and focus more on their business-related tasks.
Anyone managing business travel needs to balance employee safety, cost, and sustainability so we’re pleased that in this challenging environment we’ve been the corporate travel provider of choice for so many businesses.
How does Bolt Business solve the issue of work-related travel?
In a nutshell, Bolt Business facilitates corporate travel services through our well-known platform. We are all familiar with the fact that business travel and employee commute have always been hot topics. Should we buy our own car fleet or should we offer fuel compensation for employees using their personal cars? Should we cover travel expenses every month and allow employees to choose their preferred means of transportation? Should we hire a company? These are not easy questions to answer, no matter if you work for a small, medium, or large company. There are many things to consider, especially when we look at fuel and parking costs, time spent commuting, or environmental concerns.
Bolt Business operates in Romania the same way it does in Europe. Companies agree on a travel plan that includes a monthly budget, the number of employees and we take care of the rest.
If employees are using the same Bolt app, how do companies distinguish between personal and business-related rides?
Let’s say you are a company. Think of our service as a hub-like Bolt platform that allows you to manage everything about your company’s business travel, all in one place. Every team member has a Work Profile set within the Bolt app, separate from their personal one, and they can book rides on the company’s account. And when I say rides, I mean both ride-hailing and e-scooter rides. The Work Profile relates only to business travel and helps your company keep track of routes and travel-related expenses. For large and multinational companies, Bolt Business is also a great way to manage and keep track of frequent small-fee transactions that are essential for running their activity: transport to and from business meetings, or events.
Your employees won’t need to worry about travel costs or paperwork anymore. No more physical receipts, travel reports, or trips going up and down to your accountant. All they need to do is use the Bolt app, which they are already accustomed to. Plus, there is a monthly budget limit that you pre-set. You can set up different expense limits, based on the profile of your team or employees’ needs. See how much each team member spends on travel and pre-define your budget so that no one needs to worry about stepping out of the policy.
How many companies in Romania are using your service at the moment?
We have more than 3000 client companies using Bolt Business in Romania, and we are still expanding.
What fields of activity are these companies active in?
Most of these are large and mid-sized companies from various domains, such as retail, mass-media, banking, tech, architecture, law, customer support, hospitality, health, or automotive.
For example, Gelateria La Romana is one of our clients here in Romania. It’s an Italian-based company with a strong European presence. The local management noticed that the team had to make long commutes to and from work. So, in a bid to boost employee retention, he decided to take action. Benefits came immediately. The company saw a 15-20% reduction in travel costs, workers saved up to 30 minutes per day when it came to reporting because everything is automated and it improved staff retention. Also, besides employee wellbeing, running the business sustainably is also important to Gelateria La Romana. They mentioned quite a few times that they consider the environment in their day-to-day activities and have introduced biodegradable and compostable packaging for their products. We couldn’t be happier, because this makes working with Bolt Business perfect as all business rides in Europe are carbon-neutral.
Do these cost-related advantages apply to most of your clients or is this a particular case?
Yes, it’s an overall benefit for most of the companies we work with, regardless of size or domain. Then you have the environmental benefits, plus the seamless use of our services even when traveling abroad. Because we are an international company with a strong presence all over the world, when your employees travel abroad, there is no need to tweak or change anything. Just open the app and hail your next ride, no matter where you are.
What other advantages can you list for Bolt Business?
If you are – let’s say – a large or medium-sized company, extra costs begin to pile up. Starting with maintenance, fuel, and parking, and ending up with all the paperwork related to travel expense bills. Our all-in-one-place approach saves time and money. Yes, this includes everything, from parking fees to car insurance costs, because all Bolt cars are already insured. Think of Bolt for business as a digital HQ where you get a clear view of all business trip activity, expenses, and reporting. Plus, we have this automated billing system that ensures no paperwork is needed. Say goodbye to travel bills and invoices. Now the process is simple, transparent, and easy to understand.
Another advantage worth mentioning is that you can pre-book rides up to 15 days in advance. More so, you have the option to book rides for your company’s guests, even if they are not using the Bolt app. All you need to do is set the destination, add a few details about your guest, choose the preferred ride type, and set the time and place for the pick-up. That’s it. Next, the passenger will receive an SMS before the driver arrives to let them know who is picking them up and when.
What are your plans for the future? Any exciting prospects?
We do have some exciting prospects that we will unveil in the near future. Until then, we want to consolidate our relationship with our current client base, and make sure we offer our best services at the highest standards.