The Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report is our 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

After a few days of talking to corporate travel executives and members of the travel industry that cater to business traveler at this year’s GBTA Convention in Denver, one thing is abundantly clear: Travel management companies are working hard to move business travel closer to the leisure travel experience.

Whether it’s travel management companies focusing their efforts on refining online booking tools, or greater connectivity with services like Uber and Airbnb, players in corporate travel are trying to create a more friendly business travel environment — and get more travelers to stay in policy in the process.

More travelers booking in policy also means an abundance of data that can be used to reduce travel spend and make trips more enjoyable for individual business travelers, using merchandising techniques often used in the leisure space.

We also heard a new phase of industry consolidation may be on the way for travel management companies and ground transportation providers.

As corporate travel companies evolve to become more like leisure travel companies and technology companies, who is going to thrive and who is going to be left behind?

— Andrew Sheivachman, Skift

Social Quote of the Day

Spoiler Alert: Leisure tech is catching up with the corporate world. #GBTA2016 #mobilestrategy — @Advito

Business of Buying

Business Travel Isn’t Expected to See Big Price Hikes Next Year: A new outlook shows business travel costs for air travel, hotels, ground transportation, and meetings and events are not expected to increase much for business travel in 2017. Travel managers will have a lot to worry about going into next year; at least significantly higher prices likely won’t be one of them. Read more at Skift

Corporate Travel Still Doesn’t Get Mobile Booking or the Sharing Economy: While corporate travel management companies are still playing catch up to the leisure space when it comes to the sharing economy and online booking, it seems like their executives have realized the scope of the problems they face and are looking to increase the pace of innovation going forward. Read more at Skift

U.S. Carriers Should Re-Think Gutting Benefits for Their Most Loyal Flyers: Sometimes generosity and taking care of your most loyal customers gives a halo that is not immediately visible, but can have long-term benefits and end up saving your skin.
Read more at Skift

A Day After Outage, Southwest Says Low Fares Are Hurting Profits: As United and Delta reported as well, Southwest is seeing softening demand from business travelers. That’s not a great sign for the entire travel industry, and not just airlines. And it comes at a bad time for Southwest, still recovering from a widespread technology failure that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. Read more at Skift

Security + Safety

TSA Chief Says Automation and Better Communication Are Priorities: The administrator of the Transportation Security Administration said the department has hired more people, changed some operations to work more efficiently and increased enrollment in the PreCheck program. It’s a start. Read more at Business Travel News

Turkey’s Tourism Revival Under Threat From Coup Attempt and Response: It’s essential to project and then deliver on a promise of safety and security. If you do, people will return. But we are not certain the current government is capable of this. Read more at Skift

Disruption + Innovation

Expedia CEO Predicts Mergers Are the Next Big Thing in Corporate Travel: Big travel management companies are going to look to acquire technology companies and smaller competitors as they struggle to scale up their technology platforms. Read more at Skift

Ridesharing and Car Services May Join Forces Sooner Than You Think: The irony of this conversation, unfortunately for car services, is that ridesharing trips already account for nearly half of ground transportation spending expensed through U.S. companies. So the fingerpointing and recriminations continue. Read more at Skift

Taxis Battling Ridesharing Services Are Losing the Fight for Business Travelers: As app-based ride-hailing services become widespread in personal use, it’s no surprise that corporate travel use is also increasing — even if some employers aren’t fully on board yet. Read more at Skift

Two Years Later Uber and Concur Expand Corporate Travel Integration:  Anyone doubting the complexities of corporate travel should know that it took two years for Uber and Concur to get to this stage. 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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Photo Credit: The quest to make business travel more closely resemble leisure travel was a theme at the GBTA Convention in Denver. Andrew Sheivachman / Skift