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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’re wrapping up our month-plus Corporate Travel Disruptors Series here at Skift, one of the most prevalent themes among corporate travel’s biggest companies is the daily challenge presented by both technology and world events.
Doug Anderson, CEO of American Express Global Business Travel, told us this week that shifts in technology aren’t the only challenges facing the corporate travel industry.
“The disruptors are called disruptors because they create challenges, they create the need to change and innovate,” said Anderson. “I think we’re in a good position in that regard. Some of the things that are current events today create challenges; hopefully they’ll be short term, like the travel ban that is now working its way for the second time to the court system… There are always technical challenges; technology doesn’t always work perfectly. But we strive and drive to make sure that our technology is reliable and that our systems and our applications are up and running all the time, every time. Those are challenges.”
In a world where perfection is almost impossible to achieve, corporate travel giants are partnering with technology providers and startups that provide new ways to solve old problems. Check out our Q&A with Anderson to find out more.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
United: Cops will drag you off.
Spirit: You have to drag yourself off, but we will punch you in the face.— @Lollardfish
Business of Buying
CEO Interview: How American Express GBT Tackles Innovation: American Express Global Business Travel is investing in technology to give travelers better digital tools and a more streamlined booking experience. Read more at Skift
Virgin America’s Elevate Loyalty Program Will Fold on January 1, 2018: Virgin America’s Elevate members now have an official timeline for when their loyalty program is going to fold. Read more at Skift
Delta Execs Downplay Importance of Basic Economy: Delta says it is using basic economy fares to help better differentiate its products. The jury is still out on whether it will help them compete on routes where they face low-cost competitors. Read more at Skift
How the Meetings Industry Is Attempting to Redefine Its Value Proposition: The Joint Meetings Industry Council’s “Iceberg” project is ambitious in terms of defining the value of the meetings industry more holistically, but there are a lot of challenges to provide the in-depth case studies required to quantify that successfully. Read more at Skift
EU Finds Most Travel Websites in Europe Mislead on Pricing Information: It is not a shock that some websites in Europe — and elsewhere — mislead consumers on pricing as initial search results don’t match final price. But the extent of the problem as cited by the European Commission, without naming names, is appalling. Read more at Skift
British Airways Announces a $495 Million Investment in Premium Experience: British Airways has finally come around and started investing in its business class cabin. But it may be too late to catch up with Delta, United, and the Middle East carriers. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Hyatt to Offer In-Room Streaming Entertainment Worldwide: Our guess is, pretty soon, this will be as standard as those in-room iHome docking stations for your iPods, only a whole lot more useful. Read more at Skift
Microsoft Bets on Artificial Intelligence to Help It Succeed Again in Travel: Microsoft thinks that voice-powered internet gives it a shot — via voice assistant Cortana — at upending today’s travel search funnel, which is dominated by Google’s search results. The theory’s plausible, but Microsoft needs to move faster to win. Read more at Skift
Airlines and Airports Look to Biometrics to Improve the Passenger Experience: Consumers are more comfortable with biometrics than ever, and we can probably thank Apple for that. Now airlines are starting to ask whether they might use facial recognition, fingerprints or iris scans to make the passenger experience better. Here’s hoping they succeed. Read more at Skift
Good Airline News Today? You Still Won’t Be Able to Make Calls on Flights: While we were never really excited about the move to make calls on planes, the other lesson from this is that Americans really don’t trust their fellow Americans to have any manners whatsoever. Read more at Skift