Recent reports have warned that corporate travel might be in for a difficult couple of years. In particular, Cvent predicted that the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021 would see a drop in group bookings as corporate demand weakens.

According to some of the world’s biggest hotel companies, though, the hard times are already here. We reviewed the 2019 second-quarter earnings for Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott and found that all but Marriott had experienced a slowdown in group demand. Each company, moreover, saw corporate travel weaken in the China market.

So what’s going on? Some hotels weren’t sure what to attribute it to, but Hilton was very upfront. Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta pointed to the trade war between the U.S. and China, along with the buildup to the upcoming U.S. elections, as reasons why companies were being more cautious when it comes to travel spend.

Meanwhile, Travelport joined forces with IBM and BCD Travel to make managing hotel commissions easier using blockchain.

Check out these stories, and many more, below.

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

Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

Featured Stories

Group Bookings Slowdown Showing Up Already in Hotel Earnings: As the U.S.-China trade war drags on, its effect on group business travel becomes more and more apparent. An uncertain political environment within the U.S. is also probably having an impact.

Travelport, IBM, and BCD Travel Use Blockchain to Manage Hotel Commissions: Blockchain isn’t as hyped up as it used to be during the bitcoin craze, but companies are still finding its function as a secure ledger useful. If this catches on, it could provide some much-needed transparency to the hotel reconciliation process.

Texts Between Sabre Execs About Farelogix Deal Fuel U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit: Sabre had tried the unorthodox legal tactic of pursuing its $360 million acquisition of Farelogix, an airline tech vendor, without waiting for approval from U.S. antitrust watchdogs. But it apparently didn’t count on federal attorneys claiming they have text messages between Sabre executives acknowledging the anti-competitive nature of the deal.

Why Do Airlines Suffer So Many Tech Glitches? A British Airways hiccup earlier this month was merely the latest tech outage at a number of airlines. Why does the industry suffer from so many glitches? Experts point to some deeper reasons beyond the commonly heard “old tech” explanation.

The Future Of Travel

American Airlines Will Make First Class Classier on Some Jets: People think airlines don’t listen to customers. But they do, especially when revenue is at stake. American’s most lucrative customers fly in first class, and when they’re not happy, it’s a problem. We’re not surprised American is changing course on its short-haul first class product.

AirPortr Raises $8.6 Million for Luggage Delivery: Travel Startup Funding: Investors have bet on some innovative business models. AirPortr has hand-delivered about 100,000 bags from homes to airports, lifting a worry off the hands of Londoners as they pass through airport security. PaulCamper is an Airbnb for RVs. Meanwhile, SleepBox converts spare hotel rooms into video game halls and other social zones for college students.

Delta Sues Chatbot Vendor Faulted for Data Breach: Many grandmothers have tighter password security than tech vendor [24]7.ai allegedly did. A hacker had an easy time accessing the vendor’s code, and through it, the payment card data of up to 825,000 Delta customers. No wonder the airline is suing.

Travel Reporter Issac Carey [ic@skift.com] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Photo Credit: Lobby of a Hyatt hotel in Austin, Texas. Second-quarter earnings reports for Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott showed that all but Marriott had experienced a slowdown in group demand. Thomas Hawk / Flickr