The Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report is our new weekly newsletter focused on the future of corporate travel, the big fault lines of disruption for the travel managers and buyers, the innovators emerging from the sector, and the changing business traveler habits that are upending how corporate travel is packaged, bought, and sold.

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The Future of Corporate + Business Travel

“Corporate travel” is a term that sounds emotionless, businesslike — almost robotic. It evokes clean (if unexciting) hotel rooms, crisp service, and early wake-up calls.

So we were surprised by a sentence that came from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide CEO Thomas Mangas in a recent call with analysts. “With the new look and feel, Sheraton is capturing the hearts and minds of the corporate traveler,” he said.

After much research, the global hotel brand discovered what so many in the travel industry are finding about the corporate travel space: Boring business as usual isn’t enough. Travelers who are on the road for work want some of the same things that leisure customers have grown accustomed to, whether that’s intriguing design or unique menus or easier ways to plan a trip.

We expect to see more companies come to the same conclusion and adjust accordingly — and we look forward to writing about it when they do.

Social Quote of the Day

“American Express Global Business Travel’s Chief Global Sales Officer, @xtineourmieres weighs in on the importance of being mobile-friendly. @4Hoteliers http://bit.ly/1plvRwd” – @amexgbt

Leisure Meets Corporate

Increased Leisure Travel Demand Could Lead to Fewer Business Trips: High travel costs and an uncertain global economy aren’t good news for those expecting businesses to spend more on travel. Read more at Skift

Generator Hostels’ Leaders Explain the Rise of Hostels for Business Travelers:  Generator Hostels offers a viable option for business travelers by offering single rooms and focusing on how programming and design can drive social engagement among guests and locals. That energetic vibe is also attracting hip consumer brands to partner with the innovative hospitality group. Read more at Skift

Leisure Players Are Getting in on Business Travel Action: Companies that have already made big inroads with leisure customers are gaining ground with business travelers. Read more at Tnooz

Business of Buying

Hertz Reports Softening in Corporate Rental Car Business: Weakening business travel demand, and the impact of ridesharing on the leisure market, is leading to lower rates and decreased revenue for car rental companies. Read more at Skift

Hotels Flexed Some Muscle in Corporate Rate Negotiations: As long as leisure and business demand for hotels keeps increasing, those who buy travel for corporations will face tough negotiations for special rates. Read more at Skift

Economic Concerns in China Are Taking a Toll on Incoming Business Travel: Business travel bookings from the UK to China fell in 2015 amid worries about the pace of economic growth. Read more at Buying Business Travel

Disruption + Innovation

Sheraton Is Working to Earn Devotion from Corporate Travelers: Sheraton is trying to accomplish a lot: Win “hearts and minds” of business travelers, revitalize a brand, and grow beyond 450 properties — all while its parent company is preparing to merge with another hotel giant. Read more at Skift

Expect More Consolidation Among Travel Management Companies, CEO Says: After buying a California agency late last year, the CEO of Australia’s Corporate Travel Management said his company is looking for more acquisitions in the U.S and Europe. Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald

Comments

The Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report is curated by Skift editors Hannah Sampson [hs@skift.com] and Andrew Sheivachman [as@skift.com]. The newsletter is emailed every Thursday.

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Photo Credit: The bar at Sheraton New York Times Square. Starwood Hotels and Resorts