Humans, since the dawn of time, have loved free stuff. So getting a gift card or cash from your company in exchange for booking a cheaper hotel or flight should be a slam dunk, right?
This week I talked to the companies bringing behavioral rewards to business travelers. It’s still kind of niche but seems to have staying power with the organizations that have embraced it.
Also of note this week is Airbnb’s rumored investment in Lyric, a property management platform for apartment buildings. It also recently acquired Luckey Homes, another property management company.
More than transforming travel, Airbnb seems to have shifted to further entrenching itself in various aspects of hospitality and activities. Having an in-house property management system, though, could be a positive development for business travelers who want the quality of a hotel combined with the variety of someone’s home.
This is the last newsletter of the year, so sad. I’ll be back on January 3 for all your corporate travel journalism needs.
— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor
Airlines, Hotels and Innovation
Behavioral Rewards Find Niche in Corporate Travel: Some travelers take advantage of behavioral rewards, and others don’t. The bigger picture shows, however, that the promise of a reward for making a particular travel booking decision is a good way to get buy-in from business travelers and give them something to look forward to after their trip.
Airbnb’s Grand Travel Ambitions Could Be Taking a Detour: Airbnb could be in the initial stages of getting into property management. While such an initiative has its risks in terms of criticism from current property management partners, it seems like a much smarter strategy than expanding into very complex and difficult areas such as flights.
Expedia Faces Traveler Fee Lawsuit Alleging Tax Fraud and Racketeering: Online travel agencies have been vehemently opposed to detailing the components of the taxes and fees they collect on prepaid hotel bookings because it would expose the wholesale rates they obtain from hotels and the markups that the booking sites impose. This lawsuit could potentially impose changes in Expedia’s financial relationship with its affiliates.
David Neeleman Taps Ex-Allegiant Air Exec for Top Strategy Role at His New Airline: Former Allegiant Air executive Lukas Johnson has a reputation for choosing winning routes no other airlines have tried. That should make him an excellent choice for David Neeleman’s new airline.
How Radisson’s Foray Into Indonesia Was Undone by Betrayal: A sense of betrayal, conflict of interest, and constant changes at the global hotel chain all contributed to the breakup of Radisson Hotel Group’s joint venture with Panorama Group to expand Radisson brands in Indonesia. It seems to be a story on how not to do a partnership.
World of Hyatt Loyalty Adds New Milestone Rewards to Attract Wider Audience: More perks are coming to lower-level elites in Hyatt’s World of Hyatt loyalty program next year thanks to its new Milestone Rewards program.
Frequent Flyers Brush Off Tougher Criteria for Airline Elite Status: Despite the cost of entry getting markedly higher next year, many business travelers don’t seem too worried about new qualification standards that American and United have set for next year.
The Future of Travel
Delta Air Lines Doesn’t Want to Be Pigeonholed as a Transport Company: Over the past couple of decades, most U.S. airlines have focused on transporting customers from point A to B in relative comfort. Delta wants to go beyond, hoping passengers will view it as a trusted consumer brand. If they do, Delta may be able to command an even bigger revenue premium over its competitors.
New Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier Swoops Into Canada: Canada’s newest airline, Swoop, is now up and running with some of the lowest base fares in Canada. While an important milestone, the larger focus continues to be on WestJet’s challenging financial year and ability to execute several big projects at once.
Google Is Filling In the Missing Pieces With Mobile Flight-Delay Notifications: Google Assistant will soon start sending flight-delay notifications on mobile, and informing travelers about the reasons behind the disruption to their itineraries. This could be a really great service, and Google will do it at scale. Rest assured that an automated flight-rebooking service won’t be too far behind.
Skift Senior Editor Andrew Sheivachman [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.