Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at 15 hotel designers leading the way, American’s Airlines’ barrier breaking purchase, and business travel bots.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, August 17 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

The hospitality industry showcases dozens of elite talents in hotel architecture and interior design, but which design firms have separated themselves from the field? Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill and Contributor Carley Thornell profile those innovative firms in Skift’s first-ever list of the world’s top 15 hotel designers.

In addition to stating where the hotel design firms are based, O’Neill and Thornell list their most notable projects as well as prominent personnel. Each firm’s profile also details innovations that O’Neill and Thornell write are making hotel stays more comfortable. For example, the London-based design firm Tara Bernerd & Partners has installed sliding walls in guest room bathrooms to help make them more flexible.

Next, American Airlines’ passengers could be traveling faster than the speed of sound within a decade thanks to the carrier’s purchase of Boom Supersonic jets, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

American announced on Tuesday it made a non-refundable deposit on 20 of the 60 Boom Overture jets it ordered, becoming the third carrier — in addition to United Airlines and Japan Airlines — to commit to the Overture. Boom plans to roll out the first model in 2025 and start delivering the jets to airlines in 2029.

However, Russell writes that Overture remains a work in progress as Boom hasn’t yet developed an engine for the aircraft.

Finally, more corporate travel agencies are turning back to chatbots — software designed to automate tasks — to deal with travel disruptions amidst an ongoing labor shortage, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

Chatbots, once popular in customer service messaging apps, are back on the radar of corporate travel agencies looking to help travelers and consultants. Parsons writes several companies are launching new artificial intelligence tools at this week’s Global Business Travel Association. He adds the timing is perfect, with new research finding that 69 percent of frequent business travelers expect travel disruption. In addition, almost three-quarters of business travelers are more likely to use apps and virtual agents to help get disrupted trips back on track, according to corporate travel agency Egencia.

Parsons cites Australian-based Corporate Travel Management as one agency using virtual tools to ease the burden on consultants. The company said updates to its online booking tool Lightning will help reduce the number of agent transactions.

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Tags: american airlines, business travel, future of lodging, skift podcast