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.
One of the big questions the travel industry (and Skift) have been grappling with this year surrounds U.S. policies under the Trump administration and their potential impact on travel.
Starting with the first executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority countries back in January, the travel industry hasn’t had much respite from surprise decisions. A second travel ban — now paused — followed after the first was tied up in court. And then the U.S. declared that travelers entering the country from several Middle Eastern and African countries could not bring large electronics in the cabin. Whether that so-called laptop ban will be extended to flights from Europe remains an open question.
Trying to calculate the impact of such measures is difficult. We’ve already seen several reports, ranging from $185 million in lost business travel bookings over a single week after the first travel ban to a projected cost of more than $1 billion if a wider laptop ban were to pass to an $18 billion cost to U.S. tourism over two years.
The Global Business Travel Association came out with another number recently: a loss of $1.3 billion in overall travel-related spending this year. That includes $250 million lost from inbound business travelers from the Middle East and Europe. The total only counts lost potential spending from Middle Eastern and European visitors, so it is hardly definitive. But GBTA executives hope that putting a price tag on the anticipated economic impact will help drive home their message that travel is something to protect, not prevent.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
Business travel is all fun and games until you’re in an airport Sunday night delayed two hours with an hour drive awaiting you upon landing. @rachmckelvey
Business of Buying
Delta CFO: Loyalty ‘Took Off’ When the Airline Switched to a Revenue-Based Model: Delta argues recent changes to its frequent flyer program have helped improve loyalty, but not everyone is so sure. What they almost certainly have done, however, is improve profitability. Read more at Skift
Trump Slump Could Take a $1.3 Billion Toll on U.S. Travel Spending: It’s hard to know exactly how much the U.S. will lose out on international visitors and travel spending because of policies under the Trump administration, but the fact that an industry group is making this kind of statement shows that there’s widespread concern. Read more at Skift
3 Reasons Basic Business Class May Be the Next Great Idea for Flying: A stripped-down business class fare could be an easy way for airlines to monetize inventory that would be given away for free. Read more at Skift
American Express Expands Its Lounge Access Program With Its Platinum Card: Travelers who own the American Express card now have a new suite of lounges to look forward to visiting. Whether they make up for the annual fee on the AmEx platinum card is another question. Read more at Skift
Visit Florida’s Budget Cuts Could Seriously Impact Florida’s Robust Meetings Business: How much of an impact the slashed Visit Florida budget will have on the state’s meetings and conventions industry is an open question. The answer depends on whom you ask. Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
Concur Is Trying to Play a Bigger Role in Employee Safety: Concur will offer more tools this summer for clients to better locate and communicate with travelers, issue alerts, and sending warnings in case of emergency. Read more at Business Travel News
Security Crackdowns Are Presenting New Challenges for Business Travelers: With laptop bans, increased scrutiny of social media, and warnings of stepped-up surveillance in mind, business travelers and their employers are having to look closely at policies around data, equipment, and privacy. Read more at Buying Business Travel
Disruption + Innovation
China Is Likely to Become a Test Bed for Sharing Economy Innovation: Don’t let Airbnb’s struggle in China throw you. The country shows all the signs of being an innovative laboratory for sharing-economy businesses. Read more at Skift
Extended Stay Hotels Experiment with On-Demand Food Services: Launching something like on-demand grocery delivery service makes a lot of sense, but given what happened with Hilton’s meal kit delivery service experiment, it’ll be interesting to see how well Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham’s pilot progresses. Read more at Skift
Is Business Travel Ready for Blockchain?: Blockchain technology could have widespread applications for business travel, but as one observer in this story cautioned: “It’s not The Matrix.” Read more at Buying Business Travel