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.

Last week we weighed in on the corporate travel buzzwords we’re sick of hearing, even if many in corporate travel think they represent the transformative change the industry needs.

This week, we’re thinking about a whitepaper from Euromonitor tracing the global race toward greater automation. Automation is already driving costs down for business travelers and enabling travel management companies to get smarter about travel spend and customer service.

“Compared with other industries, the travel industry is well-placed to benefit from the new wave of automation, considering that service requires a high level of management, expertise and stakeholder interaction,” concludes the report. The biggest sectors to be affected by automation will be service jobs at airports and hotels, but the promise of automation has already hit behind the scenes in corporate travel.

As business travel continues to increase across the world, particularly in Asia, automated tools will only become more important to managing and controlling the experience of travelers.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Skift 

Social Quote of the Day

I think my business travel is getting to me because I had a dream I was dozing off on a plane and I woke up and I was on a plane. @Thx4SharingJerk

Business of Buying

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Automation Is Poised to Further Disrupt Business Travel: The forces disrupting business travel today are varied, but industry leaders should keep one thing in mind: The needs of travelers must stay a top priority. Read more at Skift

New J.D. Power Survey Says Airlines Passenger Satisfaction Is at All-time High: The past six weeks have been disastrous for the U.S. airline industry. But that doesn’t make this survey wrong. For most passengers (yes, even those in coach) flying in North America is much better than it was a decade ago. Read more at Skift

Corporate Payments Are Getting Even More Complicated: Fluctuations in currency price and new technology are adding complexity to the payments arena, particularly in the UK. Read more at Buying Business Travel

U.S. Senators Criticize Airline Customer Service in Committee Hearing: Earlier this week, a House of Representatives Committee interrogated airline executives about service failures. On Thursday, a Senate committee also weighed in. But will Congress take meaningful action? Don’t bet on it. Read more at Skift

Safety + Security

U.S. May Expand Airline Electronics Restriction Beyond Middle East: If implemented, this will be a disaster for airlines and their customers. It’s one thing to have a ban on relatively few flights from the Middle East. But an expanded ban would be a much bigger deal. It’s possible a sizable number of customers could skip travel rather than deal with a ban. Read more at Skift

Disruption + Innovation

Why Meetings Within Meetings Matter for Large Events: The purposeful creation of meetings within meetings is important for the continued vitality of large meetings because it offers attendees focused discussions and connections in intimate settings. Read more at Skift

Amazon Echo Hears a Challenge From Google in Voice-Powered Travel Search: Despite the hype, neither the Amazon Echo nor the Google Home is delivering the goods yet for voice-command travel research. Google’s effort has the most promise, though. Read more at Skift

Travel Tech Startup Accelerators Learn From Early Missteps and Adjust Course: More than a dozen travel startup incubators and accelerators, backed by some of travel’s best-known companies, have popped up in the past few years. The early word, which is hardly surprising, is that picking startup winners and helping them sign deals isn’t just plug-and-play. Read more at Skift

Priceline Group Lags Airbnb in Alternative Accommodations But It’s in Hot Pursuit: Booking.com grew its vacation rental supply at a hyper clip, 51 percent in the first quarter. But vacation rentals are different than hotels, where the company has excelled, and the same formula might not be a slam dunk. Read more at Skift

COMMENTS

Skift editors Hannah Sampson [[email protected]] and Andrew Sheivachman [[email protected]] curate the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Photo Credit: Automation is expected to surge across corporate travel in the future. Automated ticketing machines used by Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines