Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Business Travel

Flight Centre Appoints New Lead For U.S. Corporate Traveler Division

9 months ago

Flight Centre Travel Group has appointed John van den Heuvel as president of its Corporate Traveler USA Division, as the company places significant focus on growth in the region.

Van den Heuvel will lead the company’s newly opened Corporate Traveler’s headquarters in Bryant Park.

Before his appointment, Van den Heuvel was president of the group’s GOGO Vacations, overseeing its redesign as a digital-first seller of wholesale travel products, according to a Flight Centre statement.
He started his travel career with the Flight Centre Travel Group 21 years ago and initially joined the Corporate Traveler brand in 2008 before transitioning to the president of GOGO Vacations in 2015.

Flight Centre’s corporate division, including FCM and Corporate Traveler brands, reported $7 billion in sales for the fiscal year ending June 30, surpassing pre-Covid levels by 24%, and its leisure travel segment’s $6.4 billion in sales during the same timeframe.

Business Travel

Corporate Booking Platform CDS Groupe Acquires Germany’s Corporate Rates Club

9 months ago

CDS Groupe, a hotel booking platform for business travel, is expanding into the German market through an acquisition. 

The France-based company said this week that it has acquired Corporate Rates Club, the business travel segment of TourisMarketing Service GmbH. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Corporate Rates Club will continue to operate independently with its full staff,  CDS Groupe said. The CRC tool is available through a customized online booking portal or through integrating its hotel offerings into a third-party online booking engine. 

The deal is part of what CDS Groupe says is a plan for international growth.

The company in 2022 acquired Rydoo Travel, an online booking tool, from Marlin Equity. 

The combined company said it completes about €800 million annually in hotel bookings on behalf of its clients, which include corporations and business travel agents. The acquisitions have also allowed the buyer to expand its portfolio of contracts with hotels. 

The company now has 300 employees in France, Italy, Poland, Germany and Croatia.

CDS Groupe was founded in 2001 and is managed by founding shareholder Ziad Minkara.

Business Travel

Clarity Travel to Buy Corporate Travel Businesses Agiito and Evolvi

11 months ago

Clarity Business Travel, a corporate travel agency based in the UK, plans to purchase two corporate travel businesses for £36.5 million ($46 million).

Capita, a publicly traded business IT company based in London, said Thursday that it plans to sell subsidiaries Agiito and Evolvi, pending regulatory approvals. 

Agiito is a management agency for corporate travel, meetings, and events. Evovli is a rail booking tool for travel management companies.

Clarity is the business travel and events division of the Portman Travel Group.

Clarity is expected to pay Capita £8 million ($10.2 million) in cash upon completion of the transaction, plus another £8 million 12 months later. Clarity is assuming working capital and debt liabilities, which makes up the difference between the sales value and the cash payments. 

The senior management teams and employees of Agiito and Evovli will remain as the companies transfer to the buyer, according to Capita. 

Revenue in 2022 for the two companies being sold was £31 million ($39.4 million), and profit before tax was £4 million ($5.1 million), according to Capita. Gross assets are valued at £76 million ($96.5 million).

Travel Technology

Travelport Integrates Corporate Booking Tool Following Deem Acquisition

11 months ago

Travelport has completed the integration of corporate booking tool Deem, which it acquired earlier this year

Travelport — along with its two larger competitors, public companies Amadeus and Sabre — primarily act as marketplaces to connect airlines and travel agents. 

While Amadeus and Sabre have had in-house corporate travel booking tools in recent years, Travelport has not since it sold Locomote in 2019.

The Deem tool is now part of Travelport+, the next generation of the booking platform for travel agents that Travelport has been developing over the past two years. And agencies that had been using Deem can now access Travelport data through the platform, which is still also compatible with data from Amadeus and Sabre.

The software from Deem is meant to provide travel agents a simpler, more modern experience than has been historically available for corporate travel. And the software includes a tool that travelers can use to manage their own trips. 

“It extends the vision that we set for Travelport back in 2019 or early 2020, which was we wanted to create a more modern retailing experience that was more akin to what leisure travelers might experience,” said John Elieson, chief operating officer and deputy CEO of Travelport.

“You go to a site like Travelocity or Expedia or Priceline, and you’ve just got this really intuitive, enjoyable experience. And yet in corporate travel, it’s just much clunkier.”

Travelport CEO Greg Webb said early this year that more than 80% of the company’s travel agent customers were using Travelport+ at that time, and the rest were expected to transition in the following 12 to 18 months.

Business Travel

Medius Acquires Corporate Expense Management Startup Expensya

11 months ago

Expensya, the corporate expense management startup, has been acquired. 

The Tunisia-based company said Tuesday that the deal is now complete with buyer Medius, the New York-based provider of accounts payable automation software. 

Terms were not disclosed. 

Medius’s software primarily deals with invoices, processing, and payments. The Expensya software automates the processing of employee expenses. 

Medius said it completed the acquisition to give its clients a more complete set of services, and the deal also expands the buyer’s clients base into new regions.

Medius said it has more than 4,000 customers in 102 countries. Expensya has more than 6,000 clients in 100 countries, with a workforce of 200 employees. 

“Expensya’s AI capabilities, employee spend management solution, and payment cards, with Medius’s AP automation platform, means we can now cover the whole indirect spend of companies and can apply the power of AI to help finance teams to optimize cost and processes across the board,” said Karim Jouini, CEO of Expensya, in a statement. 

Expensya had raised a total of $25.6 million over four funding rounds, according to Crunchbase. The most recent raises were a $20 million series B round in 2021 and $4.5 million in 2018.

Business Travel

Amex GBT Partners With Dnata to Meet Middle East’s Growing Corporate Travel Demand

2 years ago

American Express Global Business Travel has partnered with Emirates Group-owned dnata to offer its global clients more local expertise in the Middle East region.

The agency has signed a “preferred travel partner agreement” with Dubai-based dnata Travel Management. It will provide full end-to-end travel and meetings management services to Amex GBT’s customers, the company said.

Dnata Travel Management is part of the dnata Travel Group, which is the travel division of dnata, a global air and travel services provider. Amex GBT, and other travel agencies, often establish these types of partnerships with “local travel partners” in countries where they do not have a proprietary operation.

The pair also have some history, as dnata acquired a 23 percent stake in corporate travel agency Hogg Robinson Group in 2008, which was bought by Amex GBT a decade later. Alongside investment firm Boron it was a significant minority shareholder at the time.

The tie-up comes as the Middle East embarks on a number of large scale projects, including Saudi Arabia’s Neom project. The country is eying a 100 million-visitor target per year by 2030. “Saudi has huge ambitions,” the tourism authority’s chief technology officer Choon Yang Quek said during Skift Global Forum earlier this year.

“We look forward to working with Amex GBT and its clients as the region sees strong growth in corporate travel, fuelled by mega-projects and companies that are seeking to expand,” said Rashid Al Awadhi, senior vice president – dnata Travel Group, Middle East and India.

Adnan Kazim, chief commercial officer at Emirates Airline, will be speaking at Skift Global Forum East in Dubai, which takes place December 13-15.

Travel Technology

SAP Concur on Track to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels by Next Year

2 years ago

SAP, the parent company of the Concur suite of tools for managing travel expenses, said on Tuesday the company’s unit was recovering after the pandemic shock.

“Concur is actually recovering very nicely,” said Luka Mucic, chief financial officer for the German software giant. “They are only representing this quarter a 1 percent drag on the growth [in SAP’s Cloud Choice Profit (CCP) unit of cloud businesses].”

“Actually on the transactional revenue side, they are already showing very high growth in the high double digits,” Mucic said. “So that business will definitely exceed its pre-pandemic state next year, as we had projected.”

SAP cited increased use of Concur by existing clients. For example, Pennsylvania State University in the U.S. has used SAP Concur Solutions for over 15 years. But in the third quarter, it expanded its partnership because of increased student, faculty, and administrator travel.

“Our intelligence spend and business network is benefiting from a return to business travel combined with the increased focus on managing costs with cloud revenue growth in the mid-teens,” said Christian Klein, CEO of SAP.

As Skift recently reported, SAP Concur Travel is getting its first overhaul in more than 15 years. Earlier this week G2, a leading software rating service, named Concur as a market leader in its reviews-based ranking for travel expense management.

Business Travel

Flight Centre Travel Group Plays Down Rumors It’s Buying U.S. Agency Altour

2 years ago

Flight Centre Travel Group has rebuked “media M&A speculation” that it is poised to buy U.S. travel management company Altour.

“Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT or Company) is aware of media speculation in The Australian newspaper claiming FLT is considering the potential acquisition of a corporate travel business in the USA,” it said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Aug. 30.

“While it is company policy to not respond to media speculation, the company has had, and continues to have, various discussions with a number of parties regarding strategic opportunities.”

Last week the group boasted its FCM Travel division was the only global alternative to the legacy travel management companies. However, the intention to consider acquisition opportunities to complement organic growth was outlined in the company’s recent results, where it reported a loss of $127 million for 2022.

A U.S. division would make sense to expand its footprint. Australia’s Corporate Travel Management, for example, said it reaped the benefits of its own U.S. acquisition, Travel and Transport, in its most recent results that saw it record a full-year profit of $41.4 million.

Altour is part of the Internova Travel Group, which is owned by Certares, which is also an investor in American Express Global Business Travel, via a group of investors it leads. Amex GBT listed on the New York Stock Exchange in May this year.

Skift contacted Internova for comment.

Business Travel

Microsoft Enters New Phase of Amadeus Collaboration With Cytric Booking Tool Deal

2 years ago

Software giant Microsoft, a close collaborator of technology firm Amadeus, is moving its employees over to its Cytric online booking tool, which they will now use to plan, book and change business trips.

This deal follows a similar client win with Accenture, with the consulting giant also a close partner in helping Amadeus integrate deeper into Microsoft’s 365 platform, including Teams and Outlook.

Microsoft will roll out Cytric to a selected group of employees first, with the initial phase including the rollout of Cytric Easy and the integration of Cytric Travel into Microsoft 365.

“This milestone lays another foundation block for integrating technology into the travel booking and in destination experience,” said Eric Bailey, global travel director for Microsoft. “We want to simplify every aspect of business travel for our employees, Cytric does this with its intuitive user experience.”

In 2020, Microsoft spent was $44.2 million on flights in the U.S., down 85 percent from its $275 million 2019 volume, according to a BTN ranking, which noted its booking tool was SAP Concur in that year.

Amadeus announced the global strategic partnership with Microsoft in 2021. It includes migrating to cloud technology, as well as exploring new products and solutions, including leveraging its Xbox gaming console’s virtual reality capabilities to explore the metaverse, and potentially adding travel features to LinkedIn.

Rudy Daniello, executive vice president at Amadeus Cytric Solutions, added Cytric would help “push the boundaries of what the corporate travel sector has seen until this point.”

In 2020, Amadeus rival Sabre announced a partnership with Google.