Skift Take

The global distribution systems are finally moving away from the antiquated legacy systems that frustrate travel providers. Will their new cloud-based systems usher in a new era for corporate travel, or help maintain the status quo?


The inaugural Skift Tech Forum took place outside of San Jose, California, on Tuesday, and we have a bounty of riches this week when it comes to insightful stories on the future of corporate and business travel.

Executives from the top three global distribution systems took the stage for one-on-one interviews with Skift Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill, dishing on the future of their business models and the tools that their travel partners need to thrive.

There was some interesting talk from Amadeus and Travelport on how they are making the technology investment that the corporate travel sector desperately needs, and also some hints at coming disruptions to the current agency business model.

Check out the story below, along with updates from United, Hilton, Expedia, and Accor.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @sheivach.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

Airlines, Hotels, and Innovation

Global Distribution Systems Retool for the Next Digital Revolution: The global distribution systems are each pushing forward in their own unique way. By investing like technology companies in flexible distribution and payment technologies, they hope to provide a better value proposition to travel partners that are keen to cut out the middleman. Decades of bad blood between the two, however, still linger over the conversation.

United Plans New App But Is Weighing ‘Creepy’ Versus ‘Personalized’: There are limits to how much an airline like United knows about you, and that is comforting to some travelers. But putting the data it does have to good use remains a challenge, although we see nothing controversial about wishing someone a happy birthday.

Expedia Is Closing Gap With Booking on Cloud-Based And Search Engine Tech: For all of the hype over its shopping spree of acquisitions in recent years, Expedia didn’t have much to show for it compared to rival Booking Holdings. That’s starting to change, and Expedia feels it’s ready for a cloud-based future.

Hilton Is Wary of the Risks of Hyper-Personalization: Hyper-personalization may be all the rage, but so is respecting the customer’s data. Hilton wants to be on the right side of that fine line.

The Future of Travel

AccorHotels Chief Brand Officer: ‘We Need to Watch Google and Amazon Carefully’: Smart hotel brands like AccorHotels know that the real threat isn’t Airbnb or even their fellow hotel companies. It’s the Googles, Tencents, Facebooks, Amazons, and Apples of the world.

High-End Airport Lounges Are Evolving to Fight Jet Lag as Flights Get Longer: New airport lounges are emerging with spa elements and wellness options for business- and first-class passengers. The average flyer or business traveler, though, will still have to use the same old overcrowded lounges they’re used to.

InterContinental Hotels’ New Upscale Conversion Brand Is Called Voco: IHG has been pretty busy over the last few months, first buying and building up its luxury offering and now unveiling a new upscale conversion brand. CEO Keith Barr certainly has his hands full.


Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [[email protected]] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: corporate travel, ctir, skift tech forum, stf2018

Photo credit: Travelport CEO Gordon Wilson, right, opines on the future of corporate travel at Skift Tech Forum on Tuesday. Skift

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