Some big news this week from two of the more interesting startups in corporate travel.
Paul English’s Lola has appointed a new CEO with a marketing background and is moving more thoroughly into the travel management space, just a year after pivoting into booking for business travelers. It may be a tall task for Lola to break through in this extremely crowded space, particularly since other tech-first startups have been working to disrupt travel management for years.
Meanwhile, TripActions is using its recent funding round to expand globally, opening sales offices in Europe and Asia. By scaling its service operations, the company hopes to attract more global businesses to its travel management platform. We’ll see how this strategy pans out as emerging corporate travel companies begin competition on the global stage.
Check out these stories, and much more, below.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor
Airlines, Hotels, and Innovation
Lola Pivots to Travel Management With New CEO: Lola has struggled heavily to catch on with travelers as it now pivots to provide travel management tools to small companies. Mobile booking through travel agents never caught on, and it’s hard to see a path forward for Lola in the extremely crowded market for managing small group travel.
TripActions Expands Globally With a Focus on Service: TripActions is investing big in customer service unlike many other players breaking into corporate travel. The truth is that it’s hard to land larger customers unless you can service their travelers wherever they are, no matter how cool your app is.
Sabre Blends Distribution Network and Airline Units Under New Leadership: The travel technology giant has bowed to investor and airline demands for a management team more focused on software solutions that help with the retailing, distribution, and fulfillment of travel as an end-to-end journey, not just siloed by function.
Etouches Rebrands for Fresh Start in Crowded Event Tech Ecosystem: Aventri may sound kind of like an Italian resort town, but it does stand out among other event technology brands. It’s hard to brand a platform that offers a suite of services in a sector defined by individual product offerings. We’ll see how this works out, and what companies Aventri acquires in coming years.
JetBlue’s Founder Confirms He’ll Start a U.S. Airline With New Airbus Jets: So much can happen between now and 2021. David Neeleman’s new airline may never get off the ground. But let’s hope for the best. The U.S. airline industry could use its first new entrant since 2007 to stir up competition.
The Future of Travel
Opportunities for the 15 Ways Travelers Use Mobile: If there is a common thread throughout the in-destination journey today, it’s mobile. Even so, gaps exist in mobile usage between parts of the journey and the key players in each part. For those that are behind, it’s urgent to play catch-up.
Newly Named Air Italy Is Ready to Take On Troubled Alitalia: We’re not sure Europe needs another airline with global ambitions. But more capacity almost always means cheaper fares, so passengers should enjoy watching these competitive dynamics play out. Perhaps Air Italy will become Italy’s national carrier if Alitalia stops flying. Or maybe they’ll both go bust.
Flyers Divided on Cell Phone Use During Flight: Travelers are conflicted on whether cell phone use should be allowed on board during a flight. For all of the annoyances that come with modern technology, the prospect of disconnecting from the world remains unpleasant for many.
Skift Business Travel Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.