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This week, I took a look at the latest U.S.-based travel buyer compensation results from the Global Business Travel Association. Less experienced buyers are enjoying larger bonuses than in previous years, while tenured buyers are seeing their salaries slowly creep upward as well. Get paid and prosper, everyone.
A lot happened over the last week as well. Travelport is in the midst of going private, although our analysis finds that the global distribution system’s investors may be losing out. You can find our in-depth analysis below.
Oh, and Sabre is feuding with Lufthansa again. What else is new? There’s an interesting look at combining leisure and business travel from the leisure agent’s perspective, too. I’m not going to use the buzzword, don’t worry.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor
Airlines, Hotels and Innovation
Bonuses for Corporate Travel Specialists Increased in 2018: Salaries for travel buyers were relatively flat this year, although less experienced buyers saw a nice uptick in their annual bonuses.
U.S. Customs Isn’t Protecting Traveler Data After Electronic Searches: It should come as no surprise that the government isn’t following its own rules when it comes to securing the traveler data it seizes from personal devices. Another reminder to take precautions, even if your chance of getting searched is rather low.
Agencies Find Opportunity When Vacations Are Tacked Onto Business Travel: Conventional wisdom says a good travel agent can arrange leisure travel or corporate travel, but not both. Even if it were true, there’s nothing to prevent the agency from selling both leisure and business travel — except believing conventional wisdom.
Travel Advisors Warn U.S. Clients to Get Ready for Real ID Deadline: It may seem early to be worrying about the October 2020 deadline for so-called Real IDs for U.S. domestic travel, including U.S. territories, but planning ahead could reduce headaches at the airport or motor vehicle agencies.
Travelport Is Being Taken Private in $4.4 Billion Deal: The long-predicted buyout of public company Travelport has happened at a premium of about twice the market capitalization of the company. Expect a spinout of the company’s eNett payments division and the proverbial “cost restructuring.”
Travelport’s Proposed Buyout Deal May Not End the Drama: The early consensus is that Elliott Management put together a disappointing deal for investors. We cover the case for and against the deal here. But expect larger Travelport investors to consider resisting the deal or hope that a white knight acquirer rides in with a better offer.
The Future of Travel
Lufthansa Ratchets Up Pressure on Sabre Over Travel Distribution: This year Lufthansa made a series of small moves that, when looked at together, reveal a doubling down on its multi-front strategy to pressure Amadeus, Travelport, and especially Sabre to conform more to its preferred airline distribution practices. Connect the dots, and it looks like a low-grade war.
How Artificial Intelligence Determines Which Airline Stories Go Viral: As a Dataminr executive told us, “There is no such thing as a secret now.” If it happens on an airplane and someone puts it on social media, it is bound to become news. That’s just how it goes now, for better or worse.
Air France Appoints First Female CEO: Anne Rigail has the key task of trying to get the unions onside in order to avert further strike action. If she succeeds, the future looks good for Air France.
Returning to Supersonic: One Company’s Plan to Go Back to the Future: Competition is heating up for supersonic travel and Aerion has established an interesting team to speed up high-end business travel. If it works, the glamour of high-speed crossings will finally return, and the world will open up a bit more.
Skift Senior Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.