Skift Take

Cautious growth has been the forecast for a while now, and we're already seeing the impact on travel companies. We're curious if the rest of the year will bring more of the same.

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

Every quarter, Skift keeps an eye on earnings to get a sense of what is worrying — or buoying — the travel industry. This time around, we’re hearing more concerns than cheers.

Between the British vote to depart the European Union, the pending U.S. election, global economic uncertainty, the spread of Zika, continued terror attacks, and geopolitical instability around the world, companies appear to be more tentative about sending employees on the road and especially are sensitive about how much they’re paying for travel. Airlines and hotels both said corporate growth was generally weak and prices soft.

“One of the first things businesses do is cut the travel and entertainment budget” when there are business confidence problems, American Airlines Group president Scott Kirby said in his company’s earnings call. He was referring to Brexit, but the comment can apply more broadly to any of the many factors shaking corporate confidence.

What will happen to travel and entertainment budgets for the rest of the year, and what does that mean to travel management companies and travelers themselves? We’ll be watching to find out.

— Hannah Sampson, Skift

Social Quote of the Day

Business Travel is often envied by those who do not partake in it. #truth #travel #roadwarrior — @HaitiTravelGuy

Business of Buying

International Business Travel to the U.S. Grew More Than Leisure Travel in 2015: Global business travel had a great year in 2015 thanks to overall economic growth but 2016 will likely be a different story as there’s considerably more uncertainty in global markets this year. Read more at Skift

What Airline and Hotel Executives Say About Corporate Travel This Quarter: With the Brexit vote just behind us and U.S. elections looming, some form of stability — eventually — will be a welcome change of pace for companies that cater to corporate travelers. Read more at Skift

Expansion Plans, More Premium Service, and Other Takeaways from JetBlue’s Earnings Call: JetBlue is an airline on the move. But will it eventually expand to Europe? It could happen – and relatively soon. Read more at Skift

Car Service Provider Blacklane Looks to Grow Globally After Daimler Investment: Blacklane is looking to bring more traditional, and professional, car service offerings to the on-demand ground transportation space in markets like Asia. Read more at Skift

Security + Safety

Zika’s Spread in Miami Prompted an ‘Unprecedented’ Travel Warning from the CDC: So far, the conversation around travel to Zika-infected areas has centered around tourism. But since South Florida is a gateway city to the Caribbean and Latin America — and regularly hosts large meetings and conventions — companies will have to weigh the risks of sending employees to the destination. Read more at The Washington Post

Emirates Plane Crash Closes Dubai Airport, All Passengers and Crew Safe: Given how bad the pictures look, it’s amazing everyone survived the incident. It’s also surprising that this was Emirates worst accident in its 30-year history. Read more at Skift

Disruption + Innovation

The Corporate Travel Technology Arms Race According to Egencia: Egencia is leveraging the tech-savvy of its parent Expedia Inc. to compete at a high level in the corporate travel space. It has a real competitive advantage against other travel management companies, which have begun to pivot from providing travel services to developing travel technology solutions to solve the problems that travel buyers and agents can’t. Read more at Skift

Uber Sells China Business to Rival Didi: The hemorrhaging of money will now stop, but can Uber be the most valuable unicorn in the world if it’s conceding in China? Read more at Skift

The Manifesto for a Common Sense Approach to Regulating Airbnb: Can such a thing exist? Yes, but if we want it to work, we need short-term rental platforms and local governments to cooperate with each other. Read more at Skift

Virtual Payments Are Still a Long Way from Mainstream in Corporate Travel: As long as some hotels continue to reject virtual cards — and authorizations must be sent by fax — companies will have a hard time embracing the option. Read more at Business Travel News


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

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Tags: business travel, corporate travel, ctir

Photo credit: A man talks on his phone while looking at a JetBlue plane at LaGuardia Airport. Airline and hotel executives have said corporate demand is weak this quarter amid global uncertainty. 131794 / 131794

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