Whether you are a home-based travel advisor or you work in a large office servicing high-profile accounts, the Travel Advisor Innovation Report will have you covered with the trends, news, and features you’ll need to stay on top of an ever-changing marketplace.

When it comes to coordinating travel for the CEO and other corporate VIPs, the travel management company that handles the bulk of a company’s travel may not necessarily be the best choice. At least that’s what some luxury-focused leisure travel agencies are saying.

These agencies maintain that both their strong connections with high-end suppliers and a customized approach are a plus for C-suite executives, especially those who prefer to work with an agency that doesn’t serve the entire company. Leadership may not want everyone to know they aren’t subject to the same travel policy restrictions as the rank and file.

While some leisure agencies are finding success in this realm, it’s also important to recognize that even a deluxe business trip is still a business trip, with a very different objective than a vacation. While some travel advisors are adept at handling both corporate and leisure travel, most find it challenging to switch between disparate mindsets.

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Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at mbl@skift.com.

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

Featured Story

Luxury Travel Agencies Claim Bragging Rights in VIP Business Travel: Some luxury-focused leisure travel agencies are finding success in handling their clients’ business travel needs. The bleisure trend, as well as the desire for CEOs to keep their lavish travel a secret from employees, is creating opportunities for these agencies.

Tourism

The Rise and Fall of Iceland’s Tourism Miracle: Life has changed for Icelanders as the country’s tourism industry faces a slump. While many are looking at the change as an opportunity to reassess their business, the widespread decline of tourism across the country presents intractable problems.

Russia Is Relaxing Its Restrictive Visa Regimes for Tourists: Why Now? Russia wants to be seen as a global power and attract all the foreign investment that comes with that. After years of restrictive visa regimes, it seems to finally be accepting that tourism is a great tool to facilitate that.

Perfect Starry Skies: A New Draw for Travelers to Southern Africa: The luxury safari market in southern Africa is a competitive space, and it pays to leverage any unique selling points. Now savvy lodge operators are trading on the darkness of the night skies to encourage bookings.

Hotels

Boutique Hotel Brands Rethink Grand Opening Events to Loop In Community: Boutique brands are discovering that creating splashy grand openings is a way to build buzz while creating community connections. Expect more investment in these one-time celebrations.

Minor Vs. Marriott Lawsuit in Thailand Shows Risks of Chain Consolidation: Global chains and hotel owners will watch this case closely as it addresses the contentious issue of whether brand consolidation affects the ability of chains to drive business to a hotel.

Loyalty

Audi’s Silvercar Launches New Car Rental Loyalty Program: Silvercar’s new loyalty program is a good incentive for both current and prospective customers to try out the service. It also may be a shot in the arm to a plateauing company.

Digital

Pinterest Tries to Pin Down Carnival and Other Travel Marketers: The popular but unprofitable visual search company needs to crack more big-budget marketing accounts to make its financial picture more attractive. This year Pinterest began offering the ability to target ads to subsets of users based on their travel interests. That will help.

Ctrip Changing Name to Trip.com Group to Emphasize International Business: Ctrip, or the company soon-to-be known as Trip.com Group Ltd., is banking on international growth as a key driver of its business, primarily in Asia. But short term, at least, difficulties in Hong Kong and Taiwan and with the White House are complicating that game plan.

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [mbl@skift.com] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.

Photo Credit: Perhaps a CEO or a corporate vice president may want to shop for some Louis Vuitton gear during a business trip. Luxury travel advisors will know how to hook them up. Bloomberg