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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
So that was a year.
If news about terrorism wasn’t roiling the world, headlines were focused on election shenanigans or isolationist movements. It’s no wonder U.S. business travel for 2016 is expected to increase by only a sliver.
But for all the radical change that 2016 brought with it, we’re reminded that there are still many constants in corporate travel.
We asked several executives in the corporate travel space what their biggest breakthroughs or innovations were this year, and a couple of trends sounded familiar: Tools for mobile technology and hotel booking. Both have been areas of focus for years, and it sounds like that won’t change anytime soon.
Another story touched on the persistent and growing issue of direct bookings — and how travel managers are trying to work within that reality rather than try to prevent it. We expect to see more about these topics into the new year — though we hope for everyone’s sake it doesn’t resemble 2016 in too many other ways.
One final note: The newsletter will be off next week for the holidays. We’ll see you next year.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
I’m just going to go ahead and declare no business travel the week before Christmas next year. Yikes. – @blaircook
BUSINESS OF BUYING
American Air Wins Its Five-Year-Old Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against Sabre: $5.1 million is not a lot of money for a giant global airline, but for US Airways — and later American — this was always about more than money. The airlines argue that firms like Sabre have long held too much power. Read more at Skift
Corporate Travel Executives Reflect on a Year of Uncertainty: Business travel rolled with a whole lot of punches in 2016. Buckle up for next year. Read more at Skift
Direct Booking Pushes Are Causing Complications for Travel Managers: Travel managers know there’s no way to stop direct booking. Now the question is how policies and tech tools evolve to keep track of where business travelers are going and what they’re spending, regardless of how they book their trips. Read more at Skift
Hilton Is Pretty Sure It Needs Five More Hotel Brands to Better Compete: Hilton’s MO? We’re doing just fine — but it couldn’t hurt to add a few more brands, either. Read more at Skift
Safety and Security
Europe’s Christmas Markets Tighten Security After Attack: Europe’s year for tourism has faced a barrage of challenges that test its resilience as the world’s leading destination. Read more at Skift
EU Angry that U.S. Visa Waiver Program Still Has Haves and Have Nots: The EU wants the United States to broaden the visa waiver program to European countries currently excluded. That’s probably going to be a tough sell to the new Trump Administration given the proliferation of terrorism incidents in Europe. Read more at Skift
DISRUPTION + INNOVATION
Airbnb Flights: Should It Build, Buy or Borrow an Airline Booking Service?: A prudent strategy for Airbnb might be to initially partner with an online travel agency in an affiliate relationship so it can access flights for its customers. In that way, Airbnb could test whether its users want to book flights on the site without taking the big risks involved in making a large acquisition, which could always come later. Read more at Skift
Uber’s Business Travel Ambitions Are Growing: The ride-hailing company is narrowing its focus on the needs of business customers and adding high-profile corporate clients. This can only mean more bad news for traditional taxi and car service companies. Read more at CNBC
Priceline Group Gave $2 Million to Rentalcars.com to Launch a Taxi Service: A next step for Rideways, if it really wanted to get out front, would be to transition to an on-demand service and start recruiting drivers, but being part of a public company, the Priceline Group, Rideways has to be very cautious about regulatory issues. That’s sort of trying to be disruptor — or a hedge against disruption — with one hand tied behind your back. Read more at Skift