Government travel is big business in the U.S., so why does one travel management company dominate the space so completely?

This week we take a look at the state of government travel and the difficulty faced by most in corporate travel when attempting to break into what amounts to a particularly lucrative market for a division of CWT. Check out the story below.

We’ve also got the latest on rental car woes and a missive from our man in Australia on Qantas’ efforts to drag travel agencies kicking and screaming into its New Distribution Capability strategy.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at as@skift.com or tweet @sheivach.

— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor 

Featured Stories

Inside the Clubby Business of Government Travel: A Skift Deep Dive: Navigating the world of government travel is so complex that it’s hard for outside companies to handle it. And even if they can, opportunities are slim for getting big contracts with tens of billions of dollars up for grabs.

Avis and Hertz Struggle to Find Path to Car Rental Profit: Business still isn’t great for Hertz or Avis, but at least they aren’t hurting as much anymore. The next few quarters will prove whether they can burst out of a multiyear slump or will continue to muddle forward.

American Express Allows Passengers to Use Loyalty Points to Bid for Flight Upgrades: Those flush with American Express Membership Rewards points have a new tool for bidding on airline upgrades. Caveat emptor on the cost of the upgrades though.

Qantas to Levy Surcharges on Travel Agencies That Don’t Join Program Starting in August: In Australia, the New Distribution Capability is moving from a vague concept to an active business model, as Qantas urges travel agents to sign up to a new channel with expanded content. Those who miss the June 30 deadline could lose out on some enhancements, but also face new fees for airline bookings.

The Future of Travel

Delta to Make It Easier to Keep Elite Status After a Major Life Event: Has anyone noticed that U.S. airlines are taking customer satisfaction more seriously now than a few years ago? It’s a good trend.

Google Expands Power Over Local Discovery and Travel Tools: It will be fascinating to see whether consumers embrace booking various elements of travel using Google Assistant. Perhaps more interesting is the way that Google Maps has become an all-purpose superapp in recent years.

Planners Need Better Education to Create Diverse and Inclusive Events: Meetings and events should reflect the wider world, not just the insular sphere of corporate executives. Planners, though, need better education to create experiences that welcome a more diverse set of attendees.

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: The Capitol building in Washington, D.C., at sunset. Bidding for government travel contracts can be complex and onerous. Victoria Pickering / Flickr