American Express Global Business Travel has been the big dog in corporate travel for some time. After acquiring KDS and HRG, though, the company was faced with the major challenge of integrating a variety of competing systems into its existing platform.

The integration is ahead of schedule, according to American Express Global Business Travel’s chief information and technology officer, and having a variety of different tools for clients is bringing a big lift to its business. Check out my story below.

We’ve also got updates on the state of cloud computing in travel and United’s move to add non-binary gender identifications for travelers — something every company should do.

In other news, I’ll be in Chicago for the ACTE Global Summit in a couple of weeks. Let me know if you’d like to meet up for a Chicago dog or some deep dish (Lou Malnati’s, not Giordano’s, please).

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

American Express GBT Reports No Major Indigestion After 2 Big Acquisitions: It’s one thing to buy a competitor, and another to successfully integrate systems. American Express Global Business Travel has had to do it twice in recent years, and the company says the new tools have been a big boost.

Travel Tech Execs Take Shine Off Cloud Computing by Highlighting Hidden Perils: Executives from Expedia and other travel companies acknowledged at an Amadeus tech conference that cloud computing can lead to hidden waste. Mistakes include not monitoring costs and allowing internal strife to delay cross-department projects.

United Becomes First Airline to Add Gender Identifications for Non-Binary Flyers: United is the first U.S. airline to let its passengers pick a gender option other than male or female when booking tickets. Delta and other carriers said last month that they plan to make similar moves shortly. We’re with they/them.

Japan Adopts New Payments Tech in Response to Chinese Tourism Boom: Americans and Europeans who used to scoff at QR-style bar codes are going to need to learn how to use them to pay for meals, attractions, and tickets whenever they visit Japan. The reason? Swelling Chinese tourism is prompting the country to adopt China’s preferred mobile payment method.

Amadeus Buys Airport Self-Service Baggage Firm to Diversify Further: Automated bag-drop technology may be widespread at major airports, but the rest of the world still has to add the equipment needed for passengers to scan their own bags. Amadeus aims to help sell those machines now that it has bought ICM. Amadeus is positioning itself to compete assertively with airline-owned SITA for airport tech sales.

Co-Living and Co-Working Are Gimmicks, Declares 25hours Hotels CEO: What’s most interesting about this boutique lifestyle hotel brand is its willingness to take risks and to continually experiment, but not if that means following the pack.

The Future of Travel

Uber Buys Middle East Rival Careem for $3.1 Billion: Aside from getting rid of a worthy competitor and making it family, the deal bolsters Uber’s position as a global player against rival Lyft as both head for a public listing.

Why Vienna Is the Next Great Bargain European Airport: Considering rail connections, Vienna is as good an entry into Central Europe as any German city may be. And it has the benefit of being a top-tier airport, not some afterthought a hundred kilometers away from the city it is named after.

Cathay Pacific Pays $287 Million to Join Low-Cost Market: It’s a couple of years late but at least Cathay Pacific has finally recognized the need to get into the budget segment.

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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: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport 2nd terminal. Corporate travel giants are working to refine and improve their technology stacks. Moralis Tsai / Unspash