Sometimes it seems like innovation is hard to come by in corporate travel. A variety of factors stand in the way of a real revolution in the sector, although there are many promising signs for the future.

After a couple years working on the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report, we decided to take a look at the figures and leaders working to push the industry forward. The Skift 2018 Corporate Travel Innovators List was compiled with an eye on the most important trends defining the industry, and you should definitely take a look.

In other news, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel this week that included Upside chairman Jay Walker, among others, discussing business traveler trends and the ways technology will change how we all travel for work. It was a fun time and you can check out some highlights on the Global Business Travel Association’s latest podcast.

We’ve also got the latest on shifts at JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, and in hotel loyalty, below.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or tips, feel free to reach out via email at as@skift.com or tweet me @sheivach. I’ll be at the ACTE Global Summit next week in New York City; let me know if you’d like to meet up.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

Airlines, Tech, and Distribution

The Skift 2018 Corporate Travel Innovators List: Corporate travel is extremely resistant to innovation because a select handful of gatekeepers make it difficult for new entrants to gain access to the content and data that is needed. These players are driving the industry forward by fixing how travelers book and experience business travel.

JetBlue to Help Sell a Private Jet-Style Experience to the Masses: JetBlue’s move to sell seats on a tiny airline with scheduled service to smaller airports is a really smart idea that may help popularize private aviation.

Professional Retreats Show Black Travel Movement Gets Down to Business: Somewhere between leisure travel and a career boot camp lies a professional retreat. Now, there’s one that acts as a safe space for black professionals.

Alaska Airlines Will Enter Basic Economy Market Later This Year: Alaska Airlines is turning to basic economy fares to help drive additional revenue. But, hey, at least flyers will be assigned a seat when they book one of these fares, easing some of the stress that usually comes with taking the risk of flying for cheap.

The Future of Travel

Marriott Shows Strength in Loyalty But Skift Research Underscores Hospitality’s Challenges: Consumer sentiment toward the majority of hotel loyalty programs has been improving over the past five years and the breadth of programs is also growing, but the path to real customer loyalty isn’t that simple.

Southwest Flight Social Feeds Remind Airlines Tragedies Are Public in Real Time Now: The Southwest accident shows how bold passengers have become in using social media. For now, the FAA isn’t taking steps to curb their activities.

Airline Upgrades Lead to a Purloined Pillow Problem: Why can’t business class passengers have nice things? Here’s one problem: When airlines upgrade their amenities, passengers often steal them.

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Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [as@skift.com] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Photo Credit: A business traveler puts his laptop back in his bag at a TSA checkpoint. A variety of players are working on ways to improve the business travel experience. Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press