Skift Take

Inflexible policies around travel don't make much sense anymore; the key is finding a balance that has room for common sense but also lets travel managers meet their goals.

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

The world of corporate travel can be full of jargon and acronyms, none of which we are going to repeat here. So it’s refreshing to hear common-sense candor and honest language every now and then, especially when it comes to the subject of travel policy.

In our recent interview, Tobias Ragge, the CEO of hotel service provider HRS, got real about the challenges he sees for Airbnb in travel policies and the continued priority of saving money when it comes to travel spending.

But what really caught our attention was his comment about the newest generation of business travelers, millennials who “don’t follow the defined path if it doesn’t make sense” and whose expectations will likely shape the future of managed travel.

“Us forcing people to make stupid decisions, I think, is not the way forward,” he said. “So we need to have a more open-minded approach and defined frameworks in managed travel where we’re still in control and know what’s going on, but obviously we serve the purpose of that business trip. And I think that’s probably going to shape the evolution. More traveler-centric, but not in an unmanaged fashion.”

So what does “more traveler-centric, but not in an unmanaged fashion” look like? That’s what travel managers everywhere are trying to work out.

— Hannah Sampson, Skift

Social Quote of the Day

91% of #millenials would switch brands if they experience poor customer service – Sandy D. Jap #GTMCConf16  @TheGTMC

Business of Buying

Interview: HRS CEO on the Problem With Hotels and Airbnb for Business Travel: Travel managers want more of their employees to book hotel rooms through approved channels — and they want those hotels to agree on reasonable rates. There’s a good business opportunity for companies that can help them achieve those goals. Read more at Skift

Concur Is Trying to Make the Expense Process Simpler: Concur, the travel and expense management company, is trying to integrate itself more effortlessly into users’ lives. The company announced a partnership with Microsoft that will allow employees to submit expenses from Outlook and book travel based on scheduled events on the calendar. Read more at Business Travel News

Hotel CEOs Reflect on the Oil Industry’s Business Impact: Lower oil prices may translate to more road trips for leisure travelers, and better margins for airlines, but they tend to have a negative impact on hotels, especially in terms of corporate travel. Read more at Skift

Security + Safety

Terror Attacks Have Made Businesses Think Harder about Travel: A security consultant says companies are questioning whether travel is necessary for doing business in the wake of attacks in Brussels earlier this year. Those who decide their workers need to travel are trying to better prepare those employees. Read more at Workforce

Risk on the Road Is Becoming a Bigger Concern for Travelers and their Employers: While terror attacks get most of the attention, companies are trying to better prepare their business travelers for a whole spectrum of risks as travel increases in emerging markets. Read more at Buying Business Travel

Disruption + Innovation

American Airlines Reveals More Details About Its Basic Economy Fares: This year, American will roll out its basic economy class as the airline tries to compete with low-cost carriers. Next year, the focus turns to somewhat bigger spenders with the introduction of a domestic premium economy product. Read more at Skift

New Corporate Travel Chief Is in at Travel Leaders Group: Still more changes are being made at top travel management companies. The latest has Gabriel Rizzi joining Travel Leaders Group in the role of chief sales officer and head of corporate travel. Read more at Business Travel News

CEO Interview: Lola’s Paul English on Going Mobile-Only in Travel Booking: English envisions a travel booking experience where users can simply talk to their phone and have the perfect trip planned for them. Questions remain, however, about how exactly Lola’s technology will enable customer service professionals to become indistinguishable from experienced travel agents. Read more at Skift


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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Tags: business travel, corporate travel, ctir

Photo Credit: The Helix Bridge at Marina Bay in Singapore. Atibordee Kongprepan / Flickr

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