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For the first time in a while, I got trapped in business travel hell last week. An extra night in Montreal wasn’t so bad, but having to dial up Air Canada’s phone support line wasn’t fun.
It’s fitting that we have news this week from two startups trying to fix the most annoying problems in corporate travel.
Lola has added group management functionality to its service, allowing managers to suggest spending limits alongside the company’s artificial intelligence-powered travel suggestions. And TripActions announced another large funding round to help support its behavior-based booking program and expand into international markets.
For now, these companies are going after smaller businesses that don’t need an ultra strict travel program, although TripActions is looking to partner with the bigger travel management companies out there. It’s abundantly clear that solutions that make the business travel experience better for travelers are gaining traction in the wider marketplace.
Check out our coverage below of Lola, TripActions, and everything else corporate travel below.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor
Airlines, Tech, and distribution
Lola Expands Business Travel Push With Team Management Features: Lola’s new group management travel tools are useful for small companies that don’t want to deal with the hassle of creating a heavily managed travel program. Its upcoming marketing push will likely prove crucial as the company looks to attract more customers in a crowded business travel booking sector.
TripActions Raises $51 Million Series B for Its Business Travel Service: Talk about using incentives to change behavior. Is the threat of obsolescence due to new technology and startup business models enough to prompt incumbent travel management companies such as Egencia and Carlson Wagonlit to adapt?
American Airlines Takes Basic Economy International: American’s bare-bones basic economy fares are about to start appearing on long-haul routes.
Mandarin Oriental’s New Loyalty Program Has Tons of Perks But No Free Nights: While Mandarin Oriental’s loyalty program doesn’t offer the same lucrative points that many competing programs have, it does have some valuable perks. Best of all, the program is free and accessible to everyone.
Business Travel Disruption
9 Big Challenges Facing Amadeus This Year: Amadeus’ track record of profitable growth has been music to the ears of investors. But some airline and hotel executives claim to hear discordant notes in the giant technology vendor’s forecasts.
Facebook Takes On Google With Trip-Planning Ads: Facebook isn’t really in the conversation yet when it comes to competing with Google in travel advertising. But Facebook has the ability to reach travelers at various stages of the trip-planning process so it has the potential to be even more disruptive than it has been.
Former Travel Leaders Exec Alleges Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Termination: Richard Branson might be a contender for the king of lechery, and Steve Wynn’s sexual harassment scandal didn’t come as a surprise to some, but the lawsuit against Travel Leaders Group, if the allegations turn out to be true, is a reminder that you don’t have to be a household name to be held accountable.
Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.