We’re back this week with another installment of Skift’s Future of Business Travel Interview Series. This week’s entry features Anique Drumright, head of product at TripActions, discussing how the company is using technology to make business travel less painful.

We also have the inside story of how activist investors managed to take Travelport private. Financial filings suggest struggles inside Travelport that have yet to be resolved, with a bunch of investors pulling out of the deal and other potential suitors turning away completely.

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, Senior Editor

Airlines, Hotels and Innovation

How TripActions Looks Beyond the Booking: TripActions wants to do more to make business travel simpler and ease the pain of disruptions. It’ll be interesting to see how deeply the platform delves into personalized service going forward.

The Inside Story of an Activist Investor’s Fight for Travelport: Few companies other than activist investor Elliott Management expressed a serious interest in acquiring Travelport. Elliott twice lost potential private equity partners after they reviewed Travelport’s books. The deal price is underwhelming, and that’s a signal that some things haven’t been going the company’s way.

Hotel Direct Booking Efforts Create Lasting Loyalty: Two years in, it appears that consumers didn’t just sign up for the loyalty programs to get a discount. Or even if they did, they’ve also come to realize the additional benefits of booking direct.

Progress Finally Being Made on a Single African Passport: Will 2019 be the year that the African Union passport is made freely available to the continent’s 1.2 billion citizens? Probably not, but technocrats at the 55-nation union say progress is being made.

Aviation Complications Likely Spurred Move to Reopen U.S. Government: Let’s say the aviation industry hadn’t been affected by the government shutdown. Would President Trump have moved to reopen the government? Probably not. But aviation is important, and no one wanted to see more delays and cancellations.

The Future of Travel

Airbnb Buys Gaest to Push Further Into Meetings: Airbnb’s move to offer more meetings spaces represents an example of one of Skift’s 2019 Megatrends, as many giant online booking companies are looking for their next phases of growth by expanding into new areas.

China’s Travel Infrastructure Boom Sets a New Global Agenda: To capture more of the continuing engine of growth that is China’s outbound market, get on the train, set up your free Wi-Fi hotspot, and warm up your WeChat account.

Alaska Airlines Works Fast to Erase Memories of Virgin America: It can take some airlines as long as a decade after a merger before they truly operate as one entity. But Alaska Airlines is working much faster to gobble up Virgin America. Part of that is because both carriers were relatively small. But by any standard, Alaska is moving quickly.

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

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Photo Credit: In this Nov. 25, 2015 file photo, travelers check in their luggage as they prepare to travel at Miami International Airport in Miami. Alan Diaz / Associated Press