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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 travel managers and buyers, the innovations 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

Business travelers want their experience to be more like leisure when it comes to booking, eating, sleeping, and hailing a ride. But one way business travel is not following the leisure example — at least so far this year — has been in the growth of travel itself.

Based on results from companies reporting first-quarter earnings and a report from the U.S. Travel Association, business travel volume and spending are slowing amid uncertainty over security concerns and economic performance across the globe.

“Market fluctuations and lower corporate profits compared to a year ago are weighing on business confidence, which suggests domestic business travel volumes will continue to decline into mid-2016,” U.S. Travel said in its Travel Trends Index.

Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton Worldwide, said last week that while the leisure market has been strong for the hotel company over the past couple of quarters, corporate transient business has been weak.

“It had to do with the fact that the world froze up,” he said.

What does this mean for travel management companies and those who buy travel for their own corporations? It’s likely that keeping costs in check will continue to be a top concern.  What’s not clear is how that pressure will trickle down to travelers themselves.

— Hannah Sampson, Skift

Social Quote of the Day

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson #mondaymotivation @CWTAmericas

Business of Buying

Egencia Continues Growth Even as Corporate Spending Tightens:  With Expedia reporting a clear tightening in corporate travel spending, one wonders how smaller corporate travel management companies are being affected. Read more at Skift

Domestic Business Travel Declined (Again) in March: According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Trends Index, business travel in the country is continuing to drop, with a bleak forecast into the summer. Read more at Business Travel News

Limited Corporate Travel Growth Is Sabre’s Biggest Issue in North America: Companies are spending less on travel. It remains to be seen if the downturn is just a blip on the radar or an indication of a coming downturn in the U.S. economy overall. Read more at Skift

Security + Safety

Top Managers and Executives Are Most Likely to Commit Expense Fraud, Study Shows: Those with the most authority and access at the workplace are more likely to submit fraudulent expense reimbursement claims, a study shows. That indicates a need for better protections even at the top level of companies. Read more at Business Travel News

Employers Should Address Traveler Health and Stress Issues, Not Just Safety: Keeping business travelers safe and accounted for is obviously a top priority for companies, but experts say overall wellness shouldn’t be overlooked. Read more at Buying Business Travel

Disruption + Innovation

Delta Air Lines Confirms Rumors About Upcoming Premium Economy Product: Like American Airlines, Delta is planning a premium economy cabin on international flights. Also like American, Delta isn’t giving up much information just yet. One thing is for sure: Elite upgrades are about to get interesting.
Read more at Skift

Companies Are Trying to Get in on China’s Booming Business Travel: Hotel chains, airplane manufacturers, luggage companies and other sectors of the travel industry are focusing on China as business travel spending there outpaces the U.S. Read more at USA Today

Travel Management Companies Are Being Forced to Evolve — Again: As companies’ travel priorities — and travelers’ habits — change, travel management companies are finding it necessary to update their services accordingly. Read more at Buying Business Travel


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

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Photo Credit: The Houston skyline at night. Randall Pugh / Flickr