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.
As August comes to a close and the summer fades away, news across the travel industry continues to break at a rapid pace.
Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has moved to Uber, Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, and Hyatt has purchased yet another wellness brand.
Under Khosrowshahi, Expedia’s Egencia corporate travel division has grown into one of the biggest travel management companies in the world with ambitious growth plans still ahead. Uber itself is in the midst of a renewed focus on providing enhanced tools to corporations and business travelers. The new CEO’s wide knowledge of the travel industry should help the ride-sharing company with its turnaround, including the corporate travel push.
Read below for everything you need to know to supercharge your knowledge going into September.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Writer
Business of Buying
Are Hotel-Fee Initiatives Inspired by What Airlines Have Accomplished? In some ways, perhaps … but one big difference between hotels and airlines is that hotels want their consumers to actually like (maybe even love) them. While with airlines, that might be a different story as some recent events would demonstrate (we’re looking at you, United). Read more at Skift
American Considers Selling Few-Frills Economy Fares to Europe: Don’t hate American Airlines if it unbundles fares on some transatlantic routes. By flying discounters like Wow Air and Norwegian, travelers have shown how much they like cheap no-frills airlines. American needs to give the people what they want — $99 one-way fares to Barcelona. Read more at Skift
Air Berlin Requires a Quick Deal, German Government Official Says: Let the games begin: Lufthansa, Ryanair, easyJet and a German investor are said to be interested in scavenging for pieces of the beleaguered Air Berlin. The German government is getting lots of grief for making a bridge loan but that was a prudent thing to do in the public interest. Read more at Skift
Chinese Airlines Are Shifting Focus to Domestic Routes to Follow Passenger Demand: China’s state airlines were eager to flex their muscles overseas during the past few years but perhaps those route expansions were too aggressive or premature as most travel in China is still domestic. Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
Air China Says More Chinese Travelers Are Being Denied U.S. Visas: There’s no public data here, so it’s hard to know how much of an issue this is. But generally, inbound tourism to the United States is important, so if fewer visas are being granted, it’s probably not good for American businesses. Read more at Skift
Houston Hotels Bear Brunt of Hurricane Harvey and Already Weak Oil Markets: Unfortunately for Houston, a natural disaster like Harvey will likely only make things even tougher for its already struggling hotel market. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Expedia’s New CEO Is Mark Okerstrom: There is only one vote that mattered in Expedia’s abbreviated CEO search — Barry Diller’s. And he wholeheartedly wanted Okerstrom for the job. No need to mess around with an interim title or to conduct the dog and pony show of a CEO search. It was a done deal. Now Okerstrom has to step up to the challenge. Read more at Skift
Expedia’s New CEO on What He’d Like to Change: A lot of CEOs say they will maintain the policies of their predecessors. But when huge challenges surface, it will be up to Okerstrom to be his own guy, and chart a new course when necessary. Read more at Skift
New Choice Hotels CEO Is Ready to Dominate His Sectors: It’ll be interesting to see how Pat Pacious’ understanding of digital technology and online distribution will inform Choice’s future business strategy. Read more at Skift
6 Blockchain Takeaways From Tour Operator TUI’s Hotel Initiative: TUI’s chief executive is nailing his colors to the mast when it comes to blockchain and its benefits for the travel industry. In theory the technology is great — and TUI has already identified an effective way to use it — but will the hype be justified? Read more at Skift
Hyatt Buys Yet Another Wellness Brand, Exhale: Hyatt is taking the concepts of wellness and “adjacent spaces” very, very seriously. Read more at Skift
8 Insights Into Uber CEO Pick Dara Khosrowshahi From Peers and Rivals: With a two-decade track record in online travel, Khosrowshahi has had his duck-and-cover as well as been-on-a-mountaintop moments. If Uber’s looking for a steady hand, and a guy with experience who isn’t afraid to take a U-turn when called for, then they could have done a helluva lot worse. Read more at Skift