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.
The Future of Corporate + Business Travel
This week brought some surprise news of the acquisitions-we-didn’t-expect variety.
Concur, a major presence in the corporate travel world, announced it had signed an agreement to buy metasearch site Hipmunk. The six-year-old site is known for its “agony” sorting option, which takes into account price, flight, duration, and number of stops.
Concur plans to keep the consumer-facing Hipmunk brand alive while improving its own value to frequent business travelers with the site’s intelligence.
“Six years ago, our vision was to take the agony out of travel and travel planning,” Hipmunk co-founder and CEO Adam Goldstein said in a statement. “This combination means we can do an even better job for frequent travelers, in both their leisure and business travel.”
Eliminating agony has been a frequent theme in business travel circles, and so has learning from leisure, consumer-facing travel companies. This move by Concur pulls together both of those trends. Now we watch to see what the travel and expense management company does to make itself more valuable to business travelers.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
The first 45 minutes of “Sully” is about him trying to get to LaGuardia. @ChrisRRegan
Business of Buying
Cheap Airfare Will Power Corporate Travel Growth in 2017 Says Report: Global conditions remain solid for business travel next year. Hotels are cheap, and airfares are slated for a minor increase. Increased air travel options in China are making it easier for business travelers in North America to visit Asia’s strongest economic power. Read more at Skift
Best Credit Cards for Travelers Depends on Preferences: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is looking pretty good when stacked up against its peers but there is no one-size-fits-all option and road warriors need to analyze their own usage and needs before submitting that credit card application. Read more at Skift
Flying Coach Is a Lot More Complicated These Days: Airlines are dividing up their economy sections to get more money from passengers — and better compete with low-cost carriers. Delta already has three coach options, while major rivals are expected to unveil changes in the coming months. Read more at The Wall Street Journal
What Makes Millennial, Gen X, and Boomer Business Travelers Most Satisfied? It’s no surprise that business travelers hate waiting in security lines more than any other aspect of the travel experience. But the importance of booking choice to millennials and booking flexibility for Gen Xers shows how consumer booking tools have shifted how workers think about business travel. Read more at Skift
Security + Safety
FAA Issues Warning to Samsung Galaxy Note Users: Don’t Turn on Your Phones: An excellent reminder that everyday electronics, while essential to travelers, still offer challenges to aviation safety. Read more at Skift
France Considers Establishing Institute to Study Attacks’ Tourism Impact: Among several changes, France wants to establish a crisis center to disperse more reliable information to tourists in the event of new terrorist attacks and disruption. That would be a good thing if indeed the information is timely and credible. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
This Is Not a Freakin’ Trade Conference: Year Three: The third year of the Skift Global Forum — which, we repeat, is not a freakin’ trade conference — features 25 CEOs in travel and tech company leaders talking about their vision for the future of travel. Read more at Skift
Airbnb Reveals Policies and Products to Combat Its Racism Problem: It’s encouraging to see Airbnb tackle this issue head on and try to effect some real changes but we wonder if the company is taking enough steps to make a major difference. Read more at Skift
The Long-Term Impact of Brexit on Business Travel Is Still Unknown: The prolonged uncertainty over details surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union will likely take a toll on business travel. Greater implications will be determined by the way the departure plays out over the next couple of years. Read more at Buying Business Travel
Concur Buys Hipmunk to Bring Consumer Tools to Its Business Travelers: Six years after brashly boasting about how it would disrupt travel search, Hipmunk, which had to compete against larger players with more ample war chests, is exiting into the business travel portfolio of Concur. Hipmunk’s turn toward business travel may make it more of a business-to-business play than its current consumer incarnation. As Concur’s TripIt example shows, it remains to be seen how innovative Hipmunk can be given larger corporate priorities within SAP/Concur. Read more at Skift