Skift Take

In the first entry of the Skift Future of Business Travel Interview Series, we examined the growing promise of personalization and a more consumer-like experience. Stay tuned for more insights from across the sector in coming weeks.


This week we’re kicking off a new interview series, examining the trends and innovations that are bubbling up through different cracks in the corporate travel ecosystem.

Serko CEO Darrin Grafton is our subject this week for the Skift Future of Corporate Travel Interview Series, discussing the ways that personalization and consumerization will impact the sector in years to come. It was an interesting conversation, with insights into not just the promise of better booking tools but the pitfalls of too much automation in a space defined by effectively servicing travelers.

We’ve also got the latest on Sabre’s long-overdue distribution partnership with some airlines and how the car rental sector seems to be bouncing back slightly, which could lead to higher costs for business travelers.

Check out these stories, and much more from across the industry, below.

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

Bringing a Consumer Experience to Corporate Travel: One of the biggest challenges for companies is simply getting their travelers to book how they’re supposed to. The problem seems to be getting worse. Useful personalization and a more consumer-friendly experience will go a long way toward changing that.

Sabre Agrees to Pilot New Technologies With American Airlines and Other Travel Giants: After years of friction, Sabre and corporate travel giants American Express Global Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit, and Flight Centre, have agreed to work together to test what new distribution methods might look like. Questions of who will pay what have been postponed.

Meeting Planners Face Challenges Amid Commission Cuts in Sellers’ Market: The third-party commission cuts by a growing number of hotel companies are emerging as planners’ biggest challenge in 2018. That’s followed by the current sellers’ market but, somehow, the cuts feel personal.

Is a Smarter Car Rental Industry Emerging From Its Funk? Rumors of the car rental sector’s demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Fundamentals have improved for Hertz and Avis, while partnerships with ridesharing companies and autonomous vehicle innovators bring potential for sustained growth.

Why Travelport’s CEO Isn’t Worried About Brexit: In an interview, Travelport CEO Gordon Wilson strikes an optimistic tone for his company and for the negotiations at large over the fate of Britain’s relationship with the European Union. We’ll see if his confidence will be borne out by events.

Hyatt Expands Loyalty Program to New Luxury Hotel Partners: Hyatt just extended its loyalty program to reach a whole new market of luxury properties around the world. Boutique enthusiasts will be thrilled with both Hyatt and its reach.

The Future of Travel

Qantas Hired This Professor to Help Flyers Beat Jet Lag: Travelers can leverage effective strategies to limit jet lag. There’s only one problem. Most people lack the willpower to follow advice from the scientific community. That hasn’t stopped Qantas, which hired a specialist to help.

TSA Mulls Proposal to End Security Screenings at Small Airports: The TSA has been stretched thin in recent years even as security theater has seemingly ramped up at major U.S. airports. Given the high state of fear in U.S. politics right now, though, it’s unlikely anything will come of this proposal.

Marriott Still Working Through Starwood Integration Two Years After Deal: Can Marriott hold onto hotel owners and SPG elites? That was the underlying question on many analysts’ minds during Marriott’s second-quarter earnings call. After all, the bigger you are, the harder you have to fall, right? But the world’s largest hotel company, not surprisingly, doesn’t see things that way.


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, serko

Photo credit: Terminal 5 at Heathrow International Airport. Mike McBey / Flickr

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