Skift Take

Millennials are a driving force in society, and business travel is no exception. We expect the corporate travel world to recognize the changes younger road warriors want to see and put them into practice — eventually.

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

Millennials get more than their share of attention in the news, and we’ll add to the coverage today with a story that we found eye-opening: Travelers in that age group took more business trips than their older colleagues in the last year.

According to the new Portrait of Business Travelers from MMGY Global, younger workers are bringing different attitudes to their travel. They don’t care much about loyalty programs, they worry about the impact of travel on their personal lives, they are interested in alternative accommodations such as Airbnb, and they prefer ridesharing options over taxis.

Those are attitudes and preferences that will only become more common — which means employers and travel management companies need to adapt sooner rather than later.

We also learned that the already uninspiring outlook for business travel spending in 2016 had been downgraded yet again. Turns out this uneasy year — with global security concerns, geopolitical instability, and an unprecedented U.S. election — is not inspiring businesses to send their workers on the road in greater numbers.

So when will things pick up? Will 2017 usher in an environment more encouraging for business travel? We’re as curious as you are.

— Hannah Sampson, Skift

Social Quote of the Day


Wow, lyft has changed the game again. They developed a sort of large car that stops around the city at scheduled intervals. Incredible  @KevinFarzad

Business of Buying

American, United and Delta Finally Invest in Business Class. Which Is Best?: Airline passengers are tough critics, but even the most hardened road warrior should agree that the premium cabin experience is much improved from five years ago. Now airlines should turn their attention to coach, right? Read more at Skift

Why United, American and Delta Fear Ultra Low Cost Competition, Explained:
American, United, and Delta are all introducing no-frills fares to try to thwart Frontier, Allegiant, and Spirit. It might work, or it might not. But it’s worth a shot. The Big 3 do not want any of the discount airlines to grow to be as large and powerful as Ryanair. Read more at Skift

Growth of Mobile Travel Bookings in 6 Charts: Smartphones continue gaining ground with online travel bookings, albeit slowly, and mobile web still outpaces what can be clunky mobile app user experiences. Read more at Skift

Election Malaise and Global Uncertainty Will Hurt U.S. Business Travel Spending: Everyone is ready for the U.S. election to be over. The question is: Will business travel rebound once we move into a new year with a new president, or will global factors keep travel on a slow-growth trajectory? Read more at Skift

Corporate Earnings

InterContinental Hotels Tripped Up by Security Concerns and Low Oil Prices: Concerns about security, especially in Europe, continue to play on the minds of both business and leisure travellers. Still InterContinental’s CEO remains bullish, believing that the sector’s fundamentals “remain compelling.” Read more at Skift 

Wyndham Is Betting on the Sharing Economy for Its Success: Wyndham Worldwide, like its peers, is betting big on loyalty, but unlike its peers, it plans on keeping its timeshare and vacation rental businesses all together, instead of spinning them off like others have. Read more at Skift

Hilton CEO: ‘We’re Doing Just Fine’ and the HNA Deal Will Make Us Even Stronger: While the third quarter didn’t meet revenue growth expectations for Hilton, the company still has its eyes focused on the future, especially with its new deal with HNA and its pending spin-off transactions. Read more at Skift

This Is Why Southwest Airlines Is No Longer an Investor Favorite: Southwest is almost a victim of its own success. Investors have massive expectations for the stock, and since Southwest is now performing no better than the competition, the company is losing its luster a bit. But the airline should be OK. Read more at Skift

Disruption + Innovation

Millennials Are Now the Most Frequent Business Travelers: Travel brands need to start paying attention to how younger travelers book travel, especially in business travel. Companies will have a new set of challenges to face, especially if airline or hotel loyalty programs and other perks are less important than local experiences or brand identity. Read more at Skift

Following Airbnb’s Lawsuit, New York’s New Short-Term Rental Law Is Put on Hold: Yet another legal battle between Airbnb and the City of New York begins. What is ultimately decided in this case could have larger implications for short-term rental regulations across the U.S. Read more at Skift

Video: Starwood’s Former CEO on Not Being Devoured by Disruption: Travel brands want to think they have a clear view of where competition is coming from, but it often takes distance to understand the true threats. Read more at Skift

What’s Behind JetBlue’s Investment in a Small Jet Airline?: JetBlue’s investment in JetSuiteX is probably not a game-changer. But it is unusual, and it will be interesting to see how the JetBlue/JetSuiteX partnership evolves. Read more at Skift


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: Millennials attend a workshop hosted by the International Telecommunication Union. A new report shows millennials are now the most frequent business travelers. ITU Pictures / Flickr

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