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Early in the decade, travel managers were focused on keeping costs low as business travel ramped up during the global economic recovery. But as costs have increased in recent years, many are looking for a more holistic way to understand what their organization spends on corporate travel outside of just flights, hotels, and food.
This week, we examined a new synergy growing between corporate events and the wider world of corporate travel. It seems that both travel management companies and meetings organizations see a huge opportunity to work together, if only the bureaucratic red tape that separates different departments can be dealt with. Security and technology are areas where both sides can collaborate, as well.
We also have the latest on Airbnb’s push into hotel distribution, United Airlines’ potential introduction of premium economy in the United States, and Booking Holdings’ long awaited move into Airbnb-type apartment rentals. Take a look below.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor
Airlines, Tech, and distribution
Travel Managers and Meeting Planners Need to Work Closer Together: Technology can empower meeting planners, but it can also lead to daunting integration problems with other aspects of corporate travel. Riding the fine line between solving problems and creating new ones remains an issue that won’t be solved soon.
Airbnb Makes Its Battle Against Booking and Expedia Official With New Hotel Campaign: The battle for online travel dominance began long ago, but now it’s really getting serious. Count this as Airbnb’s official opening shot toward Booking and Expedia.
United Airlines May Introduce Domestic Premium Economy: Don’t criticize airlines for segmenting their product. This is a basic business principle: Airlines want to sell customers the most expensive products they’re willing to buy.
InterContinental Hotels Is Buying a 51 Percent Stake in Regent Hotels for $39 Million: Well, that didn’t take very long. Will this luxury brand with a past be a good fit for IHG? Or is it too little, too late, to give Regent the comeback it deserves?
Online Bookings Grow for Small and Simple Meetings: Meetings booked online are small in stature and short in duration, which comes as no surprise. The consumerization of the booking process for meetings is well under way.
Business Travel Disruption
Has Google Made the Lowest Hotel Rates Harder to Find? It has become harder to find the online travel agencies with the lowest prices in Google’s metasearch. The apparent change this week implicitly favors travel giants, which can afford to dominate ad auctions for online search.
Booking Is on the Road to Becoming a Full-Service Online Travel Agency: Booking.com keeps hinting that it intends to become a full-service travel agency. But these products are often less profitable than hotels. So it risks a bumpy ride. No wonder it is considering revamping its rewards program and building a chatbot to help with merchandising.
Cathay Pacific Gets a Boost From Business Class Revival: A $161 million annual loss isn’t anything to shout about, but at least Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg, who only joined the business 10 months ago, can claim things are trending in the right direction. The next challenge is proving that the airline can deal with the threat coming from mainland China.
Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.