I have returned in one piece from the GBTA Convention in San Diego, and come bearing updates on the future of corporate travel.

After talking with more than a dozen executives, signs of progress are there. Travel management companies want to play nice with global distribution systems. Hotels are ramping up their variety of experiences for travelers. Services that used to be outlawed like Uber and Airbnb have gone legit.

Still, I am hesitant to say that a wildly innovative future is ahead. Most likely, as usual, things that were announced this week will appear slowly over time or not at all. Things seem to be getting more complex when technology should be solving more problems than it causes. You can find my analysis below.

I also took a look at new research from GBTA itself, which doesn’t seem to be taking the threat of global economic instability seriously when it comes to expected growth for the sector. But hey, the warning signs have been there for years, so who knows. We’ll all find out soon enough.

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 as@skift.com or tweet me @sheivach.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Business Travel Editor

Airlines, Hotels, and Innovation

Why Everyone Is Starting to Play Nice in Corporate Travel: After years of inaction, the big travel management companies are finally figuring out how to create a better booking experience for travelers. The dream of the personalized and automated future of corporate travel, though, may never come to pass.

Torrid Growth Projected for Business Travel Despite Tariffs and Trade Wars: It looks like 2018 could be the year that business travel growth truly peaks. With the specter of trade wars, Brexit, and financial instability on the horizon, the sector’s financial outlook may change in a hurry.

Jin Jiang Is Buying Radisson Hotel Group: The great HNA hospitality unraveling continues. More interesting though, is what does this mean for Jin Jiang’s other hospitality investments, including its 12 percent stake in AccorHotels?

U.S. Sanctions May Ban Inbound Flights on Russian Carrier Aeroflot: Political tension between the U.S. and Russia mounts, and this time, Russia’s state-run carrier Aeroflot may feel the pinch.

Marriott and Starwood Clean House Ahead of Combining Loyalty Programs: Marriott and Starwood are ready to pull the trigger on integrating their loyalty programs — but will their hotel and loyalty members ever be ready for the change?

Customers Cram Carry-Ons as U.S. Airlines Look the Other Way: Don’t look for airlines to impose weight limits on carry-on bags anytime soon, even though jet fuel prices are climbing and heavier loads eat up fuel.

The Future of Travel

How Cvent Searches for the Event Technology Tipping Point: Cvent wants to be opportunistic about adding emerging technologies like augmented reality to its broad stable of products for event professionals. For the time being, the focus is on making its products easier to use and reducing the fragmentation that can make life more complicated for its customers.

Luxury General Managers on How Five-Star Expectations Have Changed: What better way to discover how luxury travel has evolved than to chat with veterans of the five-star hospitality space?

Why Travelers Don’t Trust Airlines on Personalization: Some sophisticated travelers like it when airlines embrace sophisticated personalization strategies, particularly when it means an airline will make a reasonably priced offer for something the customer values, such as an upgrade or a change to an earlier flight. But more casual travelers might find it intrusive.

SUBSCRIBE

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

Subscribe to Skift’s Free Corporate Travel Innovation Report

Photo Credit: A panel at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. Now, travel management companies want to play nice with global distribution systems. Skift