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
Marriott International’s play to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts reached its expected conclusion this week when the companies announced on Tuesday that they had cleared the final regulatory hurdles in China. The deal will close before markets open on Friday, creating the biggest hospitality company in the world.
The merger will cause unprecedented consolidation in the hotel space, and is likely to make it more difficult for travel buyers to negotiate in coming years, reported Skift’s Hannah Sampson last month.
For the time being, though, the effects on the corporate travel ecosystem should be subtle. Be on the lookout for when Marriott decides which brands its going to eliminate or combine, in addition to how exactly the hotel giant’s loyalty program will evolve as it figures out what it’s doing with Starwood Preferred Guest members.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
wow so Concur bought Hipmunk. I swear to christ if they let it atrophy like Tripit I will not be responsible for my actions @edzitron
Business of Buying
Marriott-Starwood Merger Receives Final Approval: If there were any doubts about the Marriott-Starwood deal getting done, you can now toss them out because of the approval from Chinese regulators. Now, let’s get on with it. Read more at Skift
Starwood’s Hospitality Legacy After the Marriott Merger: Starwood Hotels & Resorts as we know it may be going away now that it’ll be owned by Marriott International, but its history of innovation has had a lasting impact on the hospitality industry as a whole. Read more at Skift
United Generates More Ancillary Revenue Than Any Other Airline: On short-haul flights, airlines have just about levied all the fees they can. But fees are just starting to creep in on long-haul flights. Expect that trend to continue in the next few years. Read more at Skift
Hilton Wants to Cut Down on Business Travel Hotel Cancellations: New, more restrictive rates will aim to reduce the ability for travel managers to cancel or rebook rooms at certain hotels. Read more at Business Travel News
Security + Safety
Evacuation of Business Travelers in Trouble Is a Top Priority for Employers: As global events have shown in recent years, business travelers need to be prepared for the unexpected no matter where they go. Read more at Skift
Miami’s Popular Wynwood Arts District is Cleared of Zika: Miami’s hottest tourism area took a big hit from Zika, but intensive spraying and public education seems to have had an impact. However, the same tactics will potentially have less impact in Miami Beach where cases of Zika persist. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Business Travelers Booking With Travel Agents Aren’t Using the Sharing Economy: One-in-four of Travel Leaders Group’s business travel agents say their sales numbers are worse than last year. You have to worry about the sector’s health going into 2017, given its quantifiable decline compared to previous years. Read more at Skift
TSA Lines May Return In October Without Better Government Funding: Long lines at the airport may return if congress is unable to come to terms with budgets that make sense. Read more at Skift
Airbnb Vacation Rental Exec Says Instant Booking Going Mainstream: Once again it is consumer behavior that is driving change in online travel — this time for vacation rental bookings and instantly confirmable online bookings. OK, Expedia’s acquisition of HomeAway and Airbnb’s goal to curb racism on its platform are also pushing things in the instantly bookable direction. When companies are sluggish in adapting to consumer trends, as HomeAway was to a certain extent in its standalone incarnation, they suffer. Read more at Skift