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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
As we continue to mark a year of Skift’s deeper coverage of corporate travel, we bring stories this week about ongoing efforts to connect with travelers in simple and user-friendly ways.
In a wide-ranging interview, Concur president Mike Eberhard told Skift that his goal for the travel and expense management company is to better connect users, the tools they already have, and the tools their bosses need them to use. So if Starbucks coffee and Uber rides are frequent items to expense (they are), automatically sending those transactions through the expense process just makes sense.
“It’s meeting the customer where they are, anywhere around the world, with the practices that they have,” Eberhard said.
The day after we published that interview, Concur provided more news on the “anywhere around the world” front. Concur announced an official expansion in Brazil this week, which follows a launch in China a few months back.
Concur is obviously just one example, but the larger takeaway is that there’s a need to continue to evolve in corporate travel — both in terms of services provided and geographies covered.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
When your corporate travel card gets put on hold because of multiple transaction… In an airport… Because of travel… ??? — @sam_hartman_iii
Business of Buying
What’s the Next Step for Airline Premium Economy? A surprising number of airlines held out against adding premium economy as long as they could. But now most big airlines have added it or plan to. That’s good news for passengers who want a little bit more space at a reasonable price. Read more at Skift
Concur Wants to Deliver a Consumer-Grade Experience to Business Travelers: It’s a trend we write about regularly: the emergence of consumer-friendly tools in corporate travel. Concur has been making that goal a priority. Read more at Skift
Concur Enters Brazil While Betting on Biz Travel Rebound: Brazil is already big for Concur, and will likely remain a strong market for business travel as its economy rebounds from a severe downturn. Hopefully, the country’s political dysfunction won’t get in the way of an economic recovery. Read more at Skift
Qatar Airways to Create Its Own Indian Airline With 100 Planes: As an air market, Qatar does not have a lot of big-time growth potential, and India does, so it makes sense Qatar Airways would want to base some planes there. Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
TSA’s Aggressive New Pat-Down Screenings Have Airports and Airlines Concerned: One of the most aggravating parts of a traveler’s trip, screening, is about to get more intense — at least at U.S. airports. This will impact attitudes at the airport, in-flight and on devices when travelers sound-off on social media and book future flights. Read more at Skift
Employers Are Still Wary About Business Travel Under Trump’s New Ban: While the latest executive order banning travel from certain countries created less chaos, business travel executives are clearly still concerned about the potential impact. We’ll see in the coming months if that translates to a drop in business travel. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Co-Working and the Sharing Economy Converge in Short-Term Home Office Rentals: The growth of short-term home office rentals poses yet another potential threat to hotels’ traditional stronghold on meeting and event, or alternative work spaces. Smart hotels should, like Ian Schrager recently suggested, start thinking about getting into the co-working game to convert potentially empty, unbooked meeting spaces. Read more at Skift
Why Uber May Have Outgrown Its Founding CEO: The rough-and-tumble approach of Travis Kalanick was indulged in the company’s early days. But customers, drivers, employees, and investors have different expectations from a multi-billion-dollar global company. Read more at Skift
Airbnb Is Looking Closely at the Long-Term Rental Market: This makes a lot of sense for Airbnb to look into, especially as it contends with some contentious regulatory battles in many of its largest short-term rental markets. Read more at Skift