Skift Take

Travel management companies are working to rebuild the complicated systems that actually let them sell and manage travel. Those who decide to stick with their existing technology stack will likely be left behind.

The gears in the machinery that powers corporate travel are slowly starting to turn.

This week I followed up on the many partnerships that are now developing between airlines, global distribution systems, and travel management companies.

While efforts are still in early stages, they represent the beginning of a wider shift to reinvent how travel management companies will service both travelers and their employers. More advanced connections with global airlines will lead to innovations for the other sectors of travel. And it’s about time.

We’ve also got the latest on how European regulators are putting Amadeus and Sabre under the microscope, along with a look at how some U.S. airports are getting more creative in ways that will make life easier for business travelers.

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, Senior Editor

Airlines, Hotels and Innovation

Corporate Travel Works to Improve Air Bookings But a Full Tech Fix Is Still Elusive: Airline distribution is one thing, but travel management companies need to totally revamp their systems to provide comprehensive tracking and service across all elements of a trip. It’s unclear whether these baby steps will turn into a giant leap for the sector.

European Regulators Will Focus on Distributors’ Restrictive Airline Contracts: It’s anyone’s guess whether travel distribution giants Amadeus and Sabre might have run afoul of the European Union’s rules. But a look at the history of those companies’ airline contracts provides clues as to what might be top of mind with investigators.

What the Latest Brexit Agreement Means for Travel and Tourism: The United Kingdom and European Union have finally agreed on a Brexit deal — but the drama isn’t over yet. The UK parliament still needs to give its approval and at the moment, that isn’t looking likely.

Plusgrade Nets $150 Million Investment for Auctioning Travel Products: A $150 million investment in Plusgrade may seem like a lot, given the scope of the market for the company’s services. But we’re not surprised that a business that specializes in drawing out the highest price from bidders in consumer markets would attract this level of funding.

Air France-KLM Launches a Unit to Churn Out Travel Startups: Can you really grow a unicorn in a lab? In other words, can companies like Air France-KLM read all of the innovation advice books in airport bookshops and methodically create the next Airbnb? We’re skeptical. But the travel industry could use much more innovation.

How 2 U.S. Airports Are Unshackling Bureaucracy to Give New Businesses a Try: U.S. airports can be slow to innovate. Most are run by local governments, and they’re risk-averse. It’s good to see some airports trying to take chances. Let’s see if more follow.

Hotels Play a Bigger Role as Matchmakers With the Help of Technology: Hotels and dating apps: a match made for the digital age that shows how far hospitality is going to market experiences.

The Future of Travel

Disillusioned Traveloka Co-Founder Resigns, Saying ‘This Game Is No Longer for Me’: In what appears to be a clash of ideals and aspirations, the brains behind Traveloka’s technology, Derianto Kusuma, is leaving the company he co-founded in early 2012. It is telling how a startup that has reached unicorn status is changing. But is it for the better?

Alaska Airlines Hints It May Finally Join the Oneworld Alliance: Alaska Airlines is evolving its business as it tries to think more globally. But unlike Canada’s WestJet, which went out and acquired Boeing 787s, Alaska is thinking much more prudently. That’s probably the right move.

Travel Concierge Offers Empowering Experiences for Women of Color: When Danielle Washington plans trips for busy black entrepreneurial women, she draws heavily on her own experiences. That means taking an inner journey as well.


Skift Senior 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, distribution

Photo credit: The cabin on a Southwest Airlines flight. 311434 / 311434

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