Skift Travel News Blog

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

Business Travel

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

2 months 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

3 months 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

5 months 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

7 months 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.

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