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.
Business traveler wants — not just needs — figure into many of the stories in today’s newsletter. We think it’s good to occasionally take a view beyond policy, employer responsibility, and cost savings to consider how road warriors feel about their travels.
One study that struck us was about the awkwardly named (but popular to discuss) bleisure trend. More than a third of those who responded to a survey of North Americans said they had extended a business trip to add a vacation element. But of those that didn’t mix business and leisure on the road, nearly 60 percent said it was because they just didn’t have time. Nearly 20 percent said they weren’t allowed. We’ve called the U.S. a no-vacation nation, and this report from the Global Business Travel Association didn’t do much to change that image.
Other wants you’ll find addressed: Comfort (in a story about an airline legroom victory); choice (in a quirky guide to Hong Kong hotels for business travelers); and innovation (in a wish list describing a perfect but sadly fictional airline).
— Hannah Sampson, News Editor
Social Quote of the Day
The worst part of saving business travel receipts is that maybe I didn’t WANT to remember I ate a “spinach and cheese croissant” at 4:45am. @nzle
Business of Buying
American Airlines Reverses Plan to Shrink Legroom on Some Planes: In today’s airline landscape, legacy carriers generally offer between 30 and 32 inches of seat pitch. Discount airlines give customers 28 or 29 inches. American Airlines had planned to shrink some seats to 29 inches, but customers complained. The plan is off. That’s good news. Read more at Skift
Time-Starved Business Travelers Are Missing the Bleisure Trend: While bleisure travel isn’t growing in a huge way, this study shows nearly half of millennial business travelers add leisure to business trips. Those young travelers could cut back as they get older — or employers might need to better adjust to a rise in bleisure down the road. Read more at Skift
Clever Ways Basic Economy Fares Force Flyers To Pay Extra: Airlines are using cheap basic economy fares, and more expensive traditional economy fares, to drive revenue. And the worse the basic economy experience becomes, the more likely flyers are to choose more expensive fares. Read more at Skift
A Scenario-Based Guide to Hotels for Business Travel in Hong Kong: A quick, no-nonsense guide to where to stay for business trips in one of the world’s most spectacular cities: Hong Kong. Read more at Skift
Brazil’s Business Travelers Haven’t Returned to Frequent Flying Yet: Business travel spending dropped in Brazil in 2016, and continued uncertainty in the market is making a recovery difficult. Will companies get used to keeping employees off the road? Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
Appeals Court Upholds Block of Trump Travel Ban as Supreme Court Battle Approaches: This is good news for travelers, and hurts the executive branch’s case for upholding the travel ban as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the issue. Read more at Skift
Laptop Ban May Not Be Expanded, Homeland Security Boss Hints: Is it necessary for the DHS Secretary to deliberate so much in public? He seems to change his statements week by week. Enough, already. Read more at Skift
TSA Tests Fingerprint Scans at U.S. Airports to Replace IDs: While some passengers may worry about privacy, this is a good development. The current system, in which an officer must compare a picture on an ID with a traveler, is not the most reliable. Humans make mistakes. This is a better approach. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Most Hotel CEOs Dismiss Airbnb’s Impact But Demand Level Playing Field: Most CEOs said the same thing they’ve said about Airbnb countless times before — ‘We need a level playing field’ — but there are signs that some are starting to take the $31 billion alternative accommodations provider a bit more seriously. Read more at Skift
Business Travel Startup Upside Raising $100 Million in New Funding: Priceline founder Jay Walker aims with Upside to offer an alternative for smaller companies buying travel. If the reports of the latest funding round are true, investors must believe Walker is going to work some of his entrepreneurial magic again. On the other hand, they’ve been wrong before. Read more at Skift
A Passenger Wish List When Designing an Airline From Scratch: What would the Casper or Warby Parker of the aviation world look like? We take a stab at outlining the characteristics. Read more at Skift
Uber CEO Plans to Take Leave as Management Board Asserts Control: As Uber shambles on following the departure of numerous top executives, one has to wonder who exactly will be tabbed to fill the company’s leadership vacuum. Will the company be able to continue its rapid growth without Kalanick’s aggressive presence at the helm? Read more at Skift