2017 was a wild ride for the travel industry, and corporate travel was certainly not immune to the uncertainty.
To kick off 2018, we asked leaders across corporate travel about their goals for the year. Above all, a greater sense of safety for travelers is the most important goal. Growing the business, of course, follows in a close second place.
This should be another big year for global business travel; the recent tax bill in the U.S. will likely free up more corporate money to send employees across the world, while countries like China continue to drive explosive growth in Asia.
Expect more consolidation for the giants, as well, as corporate travel management companies realize they’re all competing in a truly global marketplace.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor
Business of Buying
Corporate Travel Execs Hope 2018 Will Be Less Tumultuous Than Last Year: Leaders in corporate travel expect a strengthening global economy to propel the industry in the year ahead — so long as security concerns remain stable. With unemployment low, businesses are increasing their focus on traveler satisfaction to compete for employees.
IAG to Buy Austria’s Niki Air for $24 Million: All the pieces of bankrupt Air Berlin are now falling into place. The result may be diminished competition as the big airlines gather up the Air Berlin remnants.
Weakening Dollar Could Wipe Out Trump Travel Slump in 2018: The ebbs and flows of the value of the dollar against other currencies will do more to determine tourism trends than President Trump’s rhetoric, but the latter will continue to be a factor in 2018, as well.
Concur Becomes SAP Concur for Some Reason: SAP has rebranded corporate travel and expense giant Concur to SAP Concur. Concur Travel will remain Concur Travel, apparently, and not become SAP Concur Travel. SAP usually sticks its name in front of its products and subsidiaries, so the move makes sense as the two companies move closer together.
Disruption + Innovation
Airport Secrets From an Architect Who Designs Them: We’d like to see more airports not worry about budgets and focus on reinventing the airport experience, but that’s probably not feasible in most places. Architects like HKS’ Pat Askew do what they can to make travel more pleasurable with the resources they’re given.
Virtual Meetings Need More Than a Flawless Livestream To Be Successful: When attendees can leave your meeting with a click of the mouse, you’d better keep them engaged.
Ctrip-Backed Chinese Booking Sites Plan Merger: Ctrip — with the help of some useful allies — continues to dominate China’s fast-expanding travel industry. It will be interesting to see whether 2018 brings further expansion into Europe and North America.
Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.