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.
Dealing with the habits of millennials, particularly their penchant for ignoring corporate travel policy and booking whatever they want, is a big challenge for travel managers.
New research on business travel spending from Concur, however, shows that millennial travel patterns are actually a bit more conservative than older workers.
Concur’s research shows that younger travelers spend 18 percent less overall than workers aged 35 to 65 on dining, entertainment, and hotel bookings. Millennials spend less, in particular, when traveling to Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Strangely, millennials spend 3 percent more than older generations on hotel expenses, but that increase is offset strongly by savings on other aspects of their trips. (Speaking as a millennial who travels for business, I suspect this has something to do with purchasing Wi-Fi access for multiple devices, or high-speed access).
In other news, we got a briefing last week from Uber on their ambitions for a revamped Uber for Business platform. They’ve listened to their customers and created tools for travel managers to better manage business traveler spending.
We also take a look at what recent changes to hotel chain cancellation policies mean for business travel, and why hotel CEOs remain bullish on corporate travel growth.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Writer
Business of Buying
Uber for Business Got an Update That Gives Companies More Control: Uber’s refreshed business platform will help streamline corporate rideshare use, especially for unmanaged travel programs. Read more at Skift
Hotel CEOs Say They’re Cautiously Optimistic About Corporate Travel: But shouldn’t executives be a bit more concerned? At least that’s what one analyst is wondering, and we are too. Read more at Skift
Air Berlin’s Slow Collapse Into Bankruptcy, Explained: Over in Italy, no one wants to let Alitalia go. The Italian national carrier is also bankrupt, but keeping the airline is a matter of national pride. There’s no such love for Air Berlin. It’ll probably disappear, and that’ll be OK. Read more at Skift
Hotel CEOs Discuss Recent Cancellation Policy Changes and Hint at More to Come: As hotels tighten up their revenue management practices, expect more of these cancellation policy changes to take place in the near future. Read more at Skift
U.S. Government Per Diem Increases Yet Again: Government workers will be allowed to spend $2 more on business travel during the 2018 fiscal year. Read more at Business Travel News
Disruption + Innovation
Hawaiian Airlines Is Handling Customer Service Inquiries Via Text Message: In the not too distant future, we expect bots will be sophisticated enough to handle almost all customer service inquires sent via text message. But we’re not there yet, so it’s refreshing Hawaiian Airlines is going with an all-human approach. Read more at Skift
Hilton CEO Looks to Airbnb as Hedge Against Power of Expedia and Booking.com: In some cases, the hotel-online travel agency relationship is still a tense situation, but for most big hotel companies, it’s still business as usual. Read more at Skift
Hertz and Avis Prep for Future With Self-Driving Car Partnerships: Car rental giants are looking to the future, with the goal of handling logistics for whatever company ends up winning the automated car arms race. If you can’t beat them, join them. Read more at Skift
Meeting Planners Are Struggling With the Fast Evolution of Event Technology: Innovation in event technology today relates as much to how planners use the platforms that already exist, as compared to new advancements in the technology itself. Read more at Skift