Nothing like robots and artificial intelligence to drive home the point that travel management companies need to constantly evolve or risk irrelevance.
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
In this short holiday week, one story that caught our attention — how could it not, with a headline like When a Robot Books Your Airline Ticket? — came from The New York Times.
Virtual travel assistants, apps, and robots using artificial intelligence are becoming more widespread in the travel industry, but of special interest was a quote from the director of emerging technologies at one of the world’s top travel management companies.
BCD Travel’s Miriam Moscovici told the Times that she expects this development within a year: “Lower-priority tasks will be handled by self-service artificial intelligence, which will free up human travel agents to do more of the intense work required.”
How are travel managers and travel management companies — which specialize in using humans to handle travel-related tasks — getting ready for that imminent shift? If the corporate travel industry’s slow embrace of sharing economy services is any indication, we expect the question to be pertinent well into the future.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
Making frenemies with open #booking – new megatrend in #corporate #travel #expenses @Coupa http://bit.ly/1Pjdl34 @alkaline_cloud
Business of Buying
Concur Hopes Its Taxi Ads Will Attract Business Travelers and Their CFOs: Concur’s ongoing advertising campaign show how eager the company is to get its products in front of potential customers. Read more at Skift
Business Travel Spending in Brazil Will Continue to Drop this Year: A new report from the Global Business Travel Association reveals that business travel spending is expected to drop by 8.5 percent in Brazil this year as the country grapples with political uncertainty and a recession. But the trade group expects modest growth in 2017. Read more at Buying Business Travel
United’s CEO Reveals the Airline’s New Business Class Product: United is rethinking fares on the bottom end and rethinking product on the top. Read more at Skift
Security + Safety
The U.S. Alerted Issued a Travel Alert for Europe: This alert covers the busy summer period throughout Europe, when American tourists are likely to visit. Companies who send business travelers to the region have already been considering the threat of terror for months, but the new alert may encourage some to add new security training for workers. Read more at The Economist
Delta Is Trying to Innovate Faster Security Lanes for the TSA: Delta’s doing the right thing by pushing innovation at the security checkpoint — the TSA just has to run with it. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
If You Aren’t Using Robots for Travel Services Yet, You Will Be Soon: Smart travel management companies are figuring out how to embrace artificial intelligence for easier tasks while focusing human attention on the work that still requires it. Read more at The New York Times
Meeting Travelers in the Middle on Sharing Economy Policies: Travel managers know employees are using options like Uber and Airbnb. The challenge for them is to find a way to adapt policies to include such services while ensuring travelers are safe and accounted for. Read more at Business Travel News
Uber Grabs $3.5 Billion From Saudi Investment Fund: Despite concerns about a possibly bloated valuation, Uber has had little difficulty attracting never investors. This will ensure that Uber’s growth path won’t stall out in the short-term, at least. Read more at Skift
The Daily Newsletter
Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.
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Photo credit: Travelers pass through a corridor at Philadelphia International Airport. Matt Rourke / Associated Press