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
We write a lot about hotels’ efforts to win business from corporate travelers as well as the gains Airbnb has made with the segment. But today we bring you news about a “mini-revolution” for an often-unnoticed sector: corporate housing.
BridgeStreet Global Hospitality this week relaunched its website to make corporate housing instantly bookable and easier to use for both travel managers and companies that provide such accommodations.
Skift travel tech editor Sean O’Neill wrote that the change “has the hallmarks of being a watershed moment for corporate housing — especially for the travel managers who book it.”
This is yet another example of the upheaval in corporate travel technology that we see as a major trend this year. Companies that cater to business travelers, travel managers, and travel management companies know they have to keep finding new ways to deliver their product. We look forward to seeing more of this kind of innovation in the coming months.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
When you get to the hotel early enough that they’re still serving breakfast, AND they have a room ready for you, you’re living right. — @MarkLazerus
Business of Buying
United and American Just Started Selling Super Restrictive Discount Fares: Consumers aren’t going to like this product, but Basic Economy fares are a sign of the times. Travelers are already buying tickets on Spirit and Frontier that come without free large carry-ons, so why shouldn’t American and United offer a similar option? Read more at Skift
BridgeStreet Pushes Corporate Housing Towards a Mini-Revolution in Online Booking: A fresh approach to online distribution will heat up the corporate housing sector. It will make it easier for property managers to distribute serviced properties and for travel managers to book them. Read more at Skift
Marriott CEO Says U.S. Travel Ban Financial Impact Is Minor, But May Deter Groups: Companies like Marriott International, with its strong global presence, are in a good position to capitalize on hotel demand that may shift away from the U.S. due to political concerns. Read more at Skift
Delta Air Lines Has Ways of Making Passengers Pay for Their Free Meals: Technically, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But on a lot of these routes, Delta is going to charge the same fares as its competitors, while offering customers free meals. On those flights, Delta customers will come out ahead. Read more at Skift
Safety and Security
U.S. Customs Officials Are Searching Travelers’ Electronic Media at Border: Searching the digital devices of travelers is a legal gray area. It’s unclear how far U.S. border authorities are allowed to go. Privacy rights’ watchdogs are seeking clarity. Hopefully, they’ll get it sooner rather than later. Read more at Skift
Corporate Travel Holds Its Breath Waiting for Trump’s Next Travel Ban: The first travel ban resulted in stranded travelers, widespread protests, and court battles. What will round two bring, and will corporate travel executives be better prepared this time? Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
CEO Interview: Air Asia X’s Plan to Make Cheap Trans-Pacific Flights a Reality: Just as Norwegian Air has on trans-Atlantic routes, Air Asia X might disrupt established trans-Pacific players and push down fares. But making money on long-haul flights is tricky, and Air Asia X might decide it has better options closer to home. Read more at Skift
Avis Ups Its Ridesharing Partnerships as Pressure Increases on Car Rentals: For Avis Budget Group, strong overseas returns aren’t offsetting weakness in the Americas. Through its partnerships with services like Uber and Didi, it’s looking for another way to make money with its fleet when rental demand flags. Read more at Skift
Uber Is Bringing in the Big Guns to Investigate Sexual Harassment Claims: Fresh off the “delete Uber” controversy following protests over the president’s travel ban — and the CEO’s short-lived tenure on Trump’s advisory board — the ride-sharing company is facing a new scandal. After a former software engineer wrote a widely circulated post claiming she had been sexually harassed at Uber, the company has asked former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead a review. Read more at Skift