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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.
Full disclosure: The person writing this message is a woman who sometimes travels for work. And like other female business travelers, I don’t want to spend my time on the road worrying about safety, harassment, or unwanted attention. I just want to get my work done, experience a new environment, and make it home without drama.
But with some 31 percent of female road warriors reporting that they have experienced sexual harassment during trips, the question of safety is unavoidable for travelers — and especially their employers.
That statistic comes from Maiden Voyage, a UK-based company that provides resources for female business travelers. The company’s “2016 Women in Business Travel Report” also shows that 77 percent of respondents said their travel program should consider their needs as female business travelers, and 70 percent believed travel companies should try harder to address their needs.
Our interview with the Maiden Voyage CEO (see below) explores what companies can do to better empower women on the road. It’s a conversation that shouldn’t even be necessary in 2017, but addressing the issue is one way to help foster equality in the workplace and encourage effective business travel.
— Hannah Sampson, Skift
Social Quote of the Day
Even after 13 passport pgs full of stamps, can’t decide whether Intl. business travel is 2 parts adventure, 1 part hassle or vice versa? @stevecarolina10
Business of Buying
United President Says Passengers Should Get Used to Tight Coach Seating: Travelers may say they want comfort, but most value price over everything else. Will business travelers be able to convince employers to pay the higher fare that will keep them from getting squeezed in the cheap seats? Read more at Skift
Maiden Voyage CEO on Leveling the Playing Field for Female Business Travelers: Supervisors who don’t send women on business trips, in a misguided effort to avoid dealing with women’s safety issues, are doing their companies a disservice by suppressing that talent. Companies that tackle that duty of care head-on are playing with a full deck. Read more at Skift
Hilton’s New Design Brings the Gym to the Guest Room: This is especially ideal for guests who (1) don’t want their colleagues (or the general public) to see their sweaty selves in the hotel gym and (2) those rare souls who want to work out 24/7 as if no one is watching. Read more at Skift
British Airways Cost-Cutting Zeal Might Have Come Back to Haunt It: Since Alex Cruz took over as Chief Executive, British Airways has been acting increasingly like a low-cost carrier. And while the IT debacle isn’t necessarily a direct result, it will fuel the impression among consumers that they aren’t now the priority. Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
Laptop Ban on European Flights Might Not Happen, Report Says: It’s starting to look like an electronics ban on flights from Europe to the United States may not be imminent. But no one outside of government knows for sure — not even airlines. Read more at Skift
Laptop Bans Would Be Unnecessary if Future Airport Scanners Live Up to Their Promise: The technology is already available to thwart any perceived threats from bombs hidden in laptops but bureaucracy could slow implementation for years. Read more at Skift
Trump Travel Ban Could Be Sent to Supreme Court for an Emergency Ruling: One way or the other, Trump’s travel ban will likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. A key issue will be whether the high court, like lower ones, will use his prior anti-Muslim rhetoric against him. It’s totally relevant about his motives and it would be prudent to consider Trump’s earlier statements. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
British Airways Adds a Fee That Could Weaken Airline-Ticket Middlemen: Skift anticipated that British Airways and Iberia would copy Lufthansa’s pioneering move to push middlemen further out of the distribution chain. But the move is still eyebrow-raising because it defies two years of predictions by the distribution systems that Lufthansa’s effort would fizzle out. Read more at Skift
JetBlue to Test Facial Recognition for Boarding Without Passports: Even as tests go, this is a tiny one. But it shows what’s possible with biometrics. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go through the airport without showing a boarding pass or passport? Read more at Skift
Google Expands Waze Carpooling Across California: Waze carpooling isn’t going to upend Google’s business model but it can provide Google with valuable data for targeted advertising, and future ride-sharing and driverless car services. Read more at Skift
Is the End Finally Nigh for the Hotel Minibar?: Evolving business traveler needs are prompting hotels to redesign rooms at a rapid pace. So long, minibars and dresser drawers. Read more at The New York Times