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.
We finally know what Concur is planning for Hipmunk, the travel search company that it acquired last year.
On Thursday, the company announced that it was launching Concur Hipmunk to provide solutions for small businesses without managed travel programs. That’s the fastest-growing segment for Concur, chief product officer Tim MacDonald told Skift.
Users of the new service will be able to get discounts from Concur partners, have their bookings tracked through Concur, and automatically send travel information to expense and itinerary management tools.
As senior writer Andrew Sheivachman points out, several companies have been angling to cater to workers without managed travel programs at small businesses. The fight for those customers is getting fierce.
We also had word this week that domestic business travel in the U.S. dipped in July after a couple of positive months. With wildfires, hurricane-related floods, and a new record hurricane approaching the coast, we fear August and September will not be much better.
— Hannah Sampson, News Editor
Business of Buying
Trump Slump Fears Are Realized as Revised Findings Show Tourism Drop: U.S. Travel’s initial forward-looking travel projections seemed too optimistic, and now domestic business travel is trending down after a couple of up months. Hopefully the industry can have a more serious conversation about averting a prolonged slowdown instead of hoping for the best and staying the course. Read more at Skift
Southwest and JetBlue Offer the Most Generous Airline Reward Programs in the U.S.: United MileagePlus has been making it harder for members to earn additional flights based on loyalty points. Delta SkyMiles, meanwhile, is making them more affordable. Read more at Skift
United Blames Hurricane Harvey for Major Revenue Decline: There’s a reason they call it an act of God. Every airline in the world is going to lose money when a massive hurricane hits one of its largest hubs. United will be fine. It’ll just take some time. Read more at Skift
What It Takes to Build the Perfect Premium Airport Lounge: Here are the brands that are innovating and getting the lounge experience right. Read more at Skift
Safety + Security
Record Heat and Wildfires Scorch U.S. West Over Holiday Weekend: A hurricane (Harvey) that dumps 24 to 30 inches on towns and cities within 24 hours, and rail-melting heat in San Francisco raise questions about whether these bizarre weather events are related to global warming. There’s no proof but the issue has to be raised. Read more at Skift
Travel Rollback for U.S-Russia Trips Leads to Further Isolation: Isolation breeds ignorance and fear of the unknown. Ending Russian visas to the United States is shooting ourselves in the foot on so many levels. Read more at Skift
Disruption + Innovation
Hipmunk Goes After Unmanaged Business Travel Market: Despite the initial denials, we always knew Concur would bring Hipmunk into business travel. It’ll be interesting to see how the Hipmunk brand changes once it becomes known for more than just leisure travel. Read more at Skift
Artificial Intelligence Is Becoming a Priority for Airline IT Chiefs: Airline chiefs are more likely to moan than talk optimistically about leaps in artificial intelligence. But a new SITA survey suggests they’re realizing that it can be the bedrock of their futures. Read more at Skift
Lyft Has Been Taking Advantage of Uber’s Troubles to Gain Ground: Lyft would be silly not to take advantage of Uber’s self-inflicted errors in order to boost its own business. Read more at Skift
Changi Airport’s New Terminal Will Feature a High-Tech Check-In Experience: As a major business hub, the check-in experience at Changi Airport’s new terminal can’t miss any marks. And given the volume of connecting traffic that flows through the airport travelers will also care about how easy it is to reach connecting flights. Read more at Skift