We've said we expect technology in the corporate travel space to undergo intense upheaval in the coming year, and that prediction is already coming true.
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
In our annual list of Megatrends — the forces we expect to shape and define the travel industry in the coming year — one carried a bold statement about corporate travel: “Corporate travel tech is in upheaval.”
Accustomed to managing their own travel, often from a mobile device, business travelers are forcing their employers to provide more self-service options — or just allow the services like Uber that are used in everyday life. We said we expected more acquisitions, consolidation, technology development, and integration of consumer tools among corporate travel companies.
Already, we’re seeing that prediction bear out with stories about the fight among itinerary organizing tools to capture customers in the wake of WorldMate’s shuttering and the emergence of another startup that seeks to influence traveler bookings by giving incentives to save employers money.
We expect to see (and write!) a lot more headlines like these as the year progresses.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
Sitting next to the same guy, in same seat, as my flight to Minneapolis last week. Business travel isn’t w/o its own brand of excitement.— @mikekhaley
BUSINESS OF BUYING
Business Travel Is Expected to Soar in India, Struggle in Brazil as Economies Diverge: Business travel spending has increased tremendously in India and Brazil since 2000 — but most of that money is spent domestically. As those and other markets continue to change — and global politics shift — will the future bring more or fewer international business trips? Read more at Skift
WorldMate’s Retreat Leaves Itinerary-Organizing Rivals in Dogfight: WorldMate suffered as many smartphones and other services added free travel notifications. But TripCase and TripIt still have fans among many frequent travelers. Read more at Skift
Comparing Basic Economy Fares Among American, Delta and United: With basic economy soon available on American, Delta, and United, it’s worth comparing the pros and cons of each fare. American’s may be good for elite travelers while Delta’s is best for those with baggage. Read more at Skift
Rock-Bottom Fares Are Forcing Some Business Travelers to Pay for Their Own Upgrades: As legacy carriers seek to compete with low-cost, no-frills airlines, corporate travel programs need to examine policies that force business travelers into the cheapest fares. Strict cancellation rules, extra fees, and maximum aggravation can all add up to unhappy employees (and higher-than-anticipated prices). Read more at The New York Times
Southwest Fares Rising on Stronger Business Travel Demand: In the latter half of 2016, there were signs that business travel was slowing but Southwest’s first quarter of 2017 results show that fares are rising because the purchase of last-minute flights, typically those booked by business travelers, are picking up. Read more at Skift
Safety and Security
Global Airline Safety Standards For Satellite Tracking Will Kick in Next Year: At the rate it currently takes airlines to receive and replace aircraft, it will take decades for some of these newer standards to be fully implemented, which means planes like Malaysia Airlines flight 370 could still vanish without a trace. Read more at Skift
Biometric Company Clear Wants to One-Up TSA PreCheck: Clear is promising something faster and more streamlined than TSA PreCheck, but PreCheck has already suffered from low enrollment. The public seems skeptical of paying to improve their airport security experience, but on the other hand, the public despises airport security and might welcome a better solution. If Clear gets into enough major airports, it could do well. Read more at Skift
DISRUPTION + INNOVATION
Travel Megatrends 2017: Corporate Travel Tech Is in Upheaval: Corporate travel is finally starting to learn lessons from the consumer travel space, mostly because business travelers have been trained by their leisure travel to expect robust booking tools and more control over their trips. The travel management companies that focus the most on improving their traveler-facing technology will win this battle, and improve their clients’ travel experience in the process. Read more at Skift
Six Takeaways About Airbnb’s Potential Impact on the Hotel Industry: The biggest conclusion here is that hoteliers can’t afford to dismiss the impact, however large or minuscule it may be, that Airbnb is having on the lodging industry, and on their bottom lines, too. Plenty of reports may tell us different things, but the universal thread is that Airbnb is here, and it can’t be ignored. Read more at Skift
What the UK Prime Minister’s Latest Brexit Speech Means for the Travel Industry: The Prime Minister’s speech was her most significant yet on the subject of Brexit. It gave a clear indication of how the UK would look to leave the European Union, allowing us to analyze how this might affect the travel and tourism industry. Read more at Skift
TripActions Has Launched the Latest Incentive-Based Booking App: Yet another startup is trying to get business travelers to save their employers money by offering rewards for budget-friendly choices. Will the push to influence travelers directly take power away from travel management companies, or are newcomers such as TripActions and Upside reaching entirely new audiences? Read more at VentureBeat
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Photo Credit: A passenger uses the phone at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport. This year, technology in corporate travel is undergoing massive change. Susan Walsh / Associated Press
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