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
Business travel in the U.S. had a tough 2016, for reasons that included the long and nasty presidential election and economic uncertainty around the globe. But after an anticipated spending decline last year, the trend was expected to be positive in 2017.
We’ll see if that holds up.
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, surveys have shown that companies both in the United States and elsewhere in the world are planning to rein in business travel. Concerns range from uncertainty about whether employees from the affected countries would be able to get into the country to potential harassment for Americans overseas. More than 100 tech companies, including several in travel, have opposed the order in court.
The ban has been temporarily halted since late last week, when a judge in Washington blocked the order. A federal appeals court is considering whether that hold should be lifted. Still, there is widespread uncertainty over who will be able to travel and for how long — and that could be harmful. As a Brookings Institution fellow told The New York Times, the perception of uncertainty or hostility to foreigners could spur potential visitors to take their travel dollars elsewhere.
One survey respondent in Europe told the Global Business Travel Association: “Seeing a major shift in travelers’ desire to visit the U.S. Trips and events will likely be canceled or postponed.”
That is not what the U.S. travel industry wants to hear.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY
Every time I do corporate travel I feel like Katniss visiting the Capital. — @Goatesque
BUSINESS OF BUYING
Airlines Become More Sophisticated With Personalized Offers for Passengers: Many of the world’s airlines know they’re not as good as retailers like Amazon in targeting offers for individual passengers. A lot of carriers want to improve, so they can get the right offer in front of the right person at the right time. But it won’t be easy, since airlines often have clunky computer systems. Read more at Skift
How to Navigate the Airport Lounge Scene: Airport lounges might be connected to an airline, credit card, network of carriers, or hotel. How is a frequent traveler supposed to keep track? This guide will help. Read more at The New York Times
Eight Top Executives Say Where Hotel Loyalty Is Headed Next: We’re calling 2017 as the year when loyalty becomes an even bigger focus for hotels, if it isn’t already. Why? Because there’s no better time than now to try to capture a consumer’s loyalty, or to engage with them, even if the landscape is becoming a lot more competitive, and consumers overall aren’t quite as “loyal” as they used to be. Read more at Skift
Payments Giants See Headwinds Affecting Travel in 2017: Travel spending is stable globally. Nobody is really sure what 2017 will hold for leisure or business travel, however, given global instability and the high value of the U.S. dollar. Read more at Skift
Safety and Security
Business Travel from Europe Is Expected to Drop Thanks to Trump Travel Ban: While it’s unclear how much of the Trump administration’s travel ban will remain in place — or how it might continue to evolve — companies abroad are already planning to send fewer business travelers to the U.S. Read more at Skift
Another Survey Shows Trump’s Travel Ban Will Likely Hurt Business Travel: Confusion surrounded the announcement of the recent travel ban, and multiple surveys reflect the mood of the business community. Will courts uphold the ban? Will time and a little more information provide clarity to ease concerns? Or will the new administration create additional chaos moving forward? Read more at Skift
TSA Is Still Understaffed and Can’t Hire New Officers After Trump Orders: With the TSA caught up in a federal hiring freeze, we could see a return to last summer’s security line debacle for flyers. Not to mention the potential impact of airports overwhelmed by hundreds or thousands of protestors. Read more at Skift
More People Are Getting Trained for the Unexpected Before Traveling: Companies like iJet International, which provides crisis training and emergency help for travelers, are seeing their business increase. Read more at The Wall Street Journal
DISRUPTION + INNOVATION
Remote Workers Turn to Co-Living Spaces for Next-Gen Meeting Venues: The work-from-anywhere force is on the rise, but face-to-face time with co-workers remains vital. For their internal gatherings, some remote teams have found co-living spaces can offer a better environment for bonding than traditional meeting venues. Read more at Skift
Airline IT Failures Expose Systems That Are a Mix of Really Old and New Technologies: The likes of Twitter and Facebook have made it so much easier for passengers to voice their displeasure when things go wrong. Failures happen for a variety of reasons. The best thing that airlines can do in these situations is just be honest. Dedicating investments into new or upgraded systems is called for as well. Read more at Skift
Scientists Are Working on the Ultimate Cure for Jet Lag: Weary road warriors, take note. While a medical solution is still off in the future, there are ways to cope with jet lag now. Read more at Skift