As Amazon pushes into hospitality, a battle will take place over who owns the business traveler's wallet. Travel managers will have to deal with Amazon and hotel loyalty programs pushing travelers to spend more on their platforms. Ubiquitous voice-powered travel booking, though, remains a distant reality.
We have quite the trifecta of stories for you this week.
First, I took a look at how Amazon’s push into hospitality may not create much change for business travelers and travel managers. Second, I examined how security service providers are offering more products and tools for smaller businesses to better protect their travelers. And finally, we explored how the travel management community has embraced Europe’s privacy regulations on a worldwide basis.
Check it all out below, along with the week’s most important stories from across the travel industry.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor
Airlines, Hotels, and Innovation
Amazon’s Alexa for Business Travel Doesn’t Compute Right Now: The big global travel management companies have pivoted to become more like technology companies in recent years. Despite the usual bromides about innovation and user experience, they’re unlikely to invest in voice-powered automation right now. Personalization needs to come first.
Outsourcing Security Has Big Implications for Business Travel at Smaller Firms: Not every company can afford a dedicated security director. There are services out there, though, that are evolving to offer more automated security solutions that aren’t just for multinational corporations and global operations.
Travel Managers Should Get Used to Data Privacy Restrictions: While Europe’s new data regulations may only apply to one continent, they’re expected to form the blueprint for similar legislation in other countries. Travel managers everywhere should get used to them.
What Mexico’s President-Elect Could Mean for Tourism Amid Protectionism Worries: At least Mexico’s president-elect, López Obrador, has tapped someone intimately familiar with the travel industry and how it operates locally and internationally. It’s more than the United States can say it’s done for travel in the past year and a half.
6 Takeaways From The Oral History of Travel’s Greatest Acquisition Booking.com: The stars were seemingly aligned when Booking.com made its move. The big U.S. players were too comfortable with their huge margins from the merchant model; Booking.com focused on independent hotels; and search engine marketing was on the rise. Still, it was the entrepreneurs and dealmakers who made it all happen.
The Future of Travel
The Winners and Losers in Accor’s Loyalty Revamp: Hotel loyalty programs are evolving especially with new forms of accommodation coming online. Change is inevitable but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to be happy.
Etihad Airways Will Shrink Further and Reduce Global Ambitions as Losses Mount: Few airline companies have been as poorly managed as Etihad. It is a wonder the carrier is still flying at all. Shrinking the airline is the right move, but is it enough? Or should Etihad simply go out of business?
Southwest Airlines Gives Up Free Peanuts Citing Allergy Concerns: Peanuts have long been associated with Southwest, so it makes sense this development is newsworthy. But in recent years, on longer flights, Southwest has given out more substantial and tastier snacks. If those munchies disappeared, that would be more disappointing.
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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Photo credit: A promotion photo from Amazon. Amazon