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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
Sometimes, discerning emerging trends in corporate travel can be a big challenge. In such a change-averse industry, big shifts can be hard to decipher.
But other times, the trends are almost obvious to see. The importance of bridging the communication gap between travel managers and business travelers, for instance, is easy to figure out. New data show just how big this gap has become.
A report from GBTA and HRS found that while adhering to corporate travel policy is the top priority for business travelers, just half of travel managers hold in-person meetings to educate travelers on policy. Only 20 percent of travelers said their policies had been explained in-person.
Why is there such a big disconnect here? Well, obviously travel managers aren’t doing a good enough job leaving a memorable impact on travelers, and this has deep ramifications for managed travel programs. It leads to travelers booking flights on their own out of policy, using ridesharing services when it’s not permitted, and staying at pricier hotels.
As well, about one-in-five travelers said they are not given information on things like assistance programs or insurance before traveling to high-risk areas.
Communication can be tough, but travel managers need to do a better job reaching their travelers in a meaningful and lasting way.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Skift
Taxi driver assures me that he is keeping his eyes on the road. — @S_Rabinovitch
Business of Buying
Concur Expands Into China’s Corporate Travel Market: The corporate travel management arms race in China is heating up since the country’s business travel market continues to surge. China, however, is an extremely complicated market with its own unique idiosyncrasies and pitfalls. Read more at Skift
There’s a Communication Gap Between Business Travelers and Employers: If companies really want travelers to comply with policy, they should start with making sure their communication is effective. Read more at Skift
Business Travel Spending on Serviced Apartments Is Rising: Forty percent of buyers spent more on serviced apartments this year compared to 2015, according to a report. Read more at Buying Business Travel
Event Tech Leaders Cvent and Lanyon Announce Merger: With Vista already owning Lanyon, the writing was on the wall for this merger. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Skyscanner’s CEO on the Ctrip Acquisition and the Future of Metasearch: As CEO Gareth Williams says, the Ctrip deal means that nothing and everything changes for Skyscanner. The focus of the business and the growth plans will remain in place, but getting a wealthy new owner from the world’s fastest-growing travel market will bring a multitude of new opportunities. Read more at Skift
Marriott Divides Its 30 Brands Into Two Categories: We’re getting a bit more insight into exactly how Marriott is positioning all those 30 brands, but it remains to be seen how any differences among those 30 will actually play out. All we can say is we certainly don’t envy Tina Edmundson’s Herculean task to distinguish each and every one of those brands going forward. Read more at Skift
Netflix and Streaming Video Are Replacing Hotel Pay-Per-View Entertainment: If the advent of artificial-intelligence-driven smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo is any indication, the Internet of Things is that much closer to becoming a reality, even when we check into our hotel rooms. Read more at Skift
United Launches Its New Much-Hyped Polaris Business Class: From a public relations perspective, United has had a near flawless rollout of its new Polaris Business Class. But with it now flying, can the airline meet customer expectations? Or did the carrier over-promise what it can deliver? Read more at Skift