Skift Take

Travel management startups are targeting employees at small businesses, in the hopes they'll influence management. This strategy is working, and even larger companies are starting to change the way they design their travel policies.

For decades, companies have chosen travel management agencies based almost entirely on cost and efficiency. These agencies, massive corporations like American Express Global Business Travel and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, design their services to appeal to company administrators, but improving the actual experience of travel is a pretty low priority. These legacy travel management agencies have a huge amount of market share and do business with some of the largest companies in the world.

The same agencies will likely stay industry leaders for years to come, but that doesn’t mean the space isn’t changing in significant ways. Lots of companies are beginning to see the importance of keeping business travelers as happy as possible, and at the same time employees are beginning to expect more from their employers. This is where travel management startups like TravelBank and NexTravel come in, creating tools that put the traveler first, rather than the administrator.

TravelBank CEO Duke Chung talked to Skift about his company’s growth strategy and the rising influence of the individual business traveler. Plus he takes a look at where the industry is headed — and how much change is really possible.

Read this story, and many more, below.

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

Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

Featured Stories

More Companies Favor Traveler-First Startups for Biz Travel: Employees are having more of an impact on how companies choose their travel policies. This has big implications for the future of corporate travel.

Skyscanner Wants to Be Instagram-Like in Selling Flights: We can shop for TVs and clothes on our phone, but booking flights remains stubbornly old school. Skyscanner is one of a few online players working with airlines to fix that.

BCD Travel Pushes Further Into South Africa With Strategic Merger: This is just the latest in a long string of similar moves from BCD Travel. Expect more mergers and acquisitions to follow, especially in Africa and the Middle East.

Delta and American Express Revamp Their Co-Branded Credit Cards: Credit cards are a huge profit driver for U.S. airlines, so carriers and card companies are constantly updating offerings. Undoubtedly, Delta and American Express hope the new portfolio will boost sign-ups.

The Future Of Travel

What’s Gone Wrong at American Airlines? American Airlines has made a lot of excuses for its performance this year. It blames so many of its problems on a labor dispute and the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. But perhaps there’s something more here?

EbixCash Takes Over Cox & Kings’ Business Travel Clients in India: Some travel companies — Ebix among others — are rumored to be considering taking over all of the cash-strapped Cox & Kings.

New Resort Fee Legislation Would Disrupt How Hotels Are Sold Online: This is going to be a slugfest. Some hotels view resort fees as key to business and argue that they are already transparent in how they advertise them. Consumers, states, and now federal legislators are putting great pressure on that notion. Something’s gotta give — and the status quo is not a likely winner.

Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [[email protected]] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: corporate travel, ctir, travelbank

Photo credit: A business traveler stands in the neighborhood of La Défense. Located on the outskirts of Paris, it's one of the largest business districts in Europe. Corporate travel management startups aim to keep travelers happy by focusing on perks. Gideon / Flickr

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