Skift Travel News Blog

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

Travel Technology

Travelport Integrates Corporate Booking Tool Following Deem Acquisition

7 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

Business Travel Poses Biggest Challenge Globally for Hoteliers — Survey

1 year ago

Hotels have mixed feelings about business travel in 2023.

On one hand the corporate travel and groups segment is the main area of focus for hotel revenue teams this year.

But rather than staffing issues, business travel also represents their biggest challenge, according to a new Outlook & Trends 2023 Survey from revenue management software company Duetto.

When hoteliers were asked how they planned to optimize business mix in 2023, the top responses were group business (59.5 percent) followed by corporate business (51.9 percent).

Channel management (48.1 percent), online travel agencies (38 percent), then tour operator, wholesale and fully independent travelers (30.4 percent) followed.

Business travel is returning this year, but Duetto believes the fact it’s unlikely to return 2019 levels weighs heavily. for example, only half of companies located in North America are seeing international bookings recover to their pre-pandemic levels according to the Global Business Travel Association.

When it comes to the challenges hotels face in 2023, business travel came top at 60.8 percent.

Staffing followed at 55.7 percent, ahead of increased costs, government restrictions, lead times and cancellations.

As expected, seeking out sales digitally is a priority when it comes to channel management efforts — but revenue execs could be focusing on the wrong channel if they want to boost their business travel bottom line.

Their top focus for channel management in 2023 are metasearch websites such as Google, TripAdvisor or Kayak. This came out highest at 75.9 percent.

Other areas including loyalty (57 percent); online agency (55.7 percent); “own website” (54.4 percent); and global distribution systems (53.2 percent). Yet it’s these global distribution systems that are commonly used by corporate travel agencies.

Duetto’s survey was carried out from Dec. 1, 2022, to Jan. 16, 2023.

Respondents worked in leisure hotels, business hotels, casino resorts and hostels. Geographically they came from North America (39.5 percent), Europe (21.1 percent), Latin America (21.1 percent), Asia Pacific (14.5 percent), and the Middle East & Africa (3.9 percent).

Airlines

American Airlines Sues Sabre for 11 Years of Legal Fees

1 year ago

Following a legal battle that lasted 11 years, American Airlines Group wants to force defendant Sabre Corp to pay its legal fees. 

U.S. law firm O’Melveny & Myers filed a lawsuit on behalf of American Airlines on Friday, saying the Texas-based global distribution system should pay American’s fees.

Those fees could amount to at least tens of millions of dollars. The 11-year litigation included two trials and an appeal. The filing did not identify an amount, but a O’Melveny partner previously said in court that the fees were “very, very substantial.”

American Airlines was awarded $1 in May as the winner of an antitrust trial against Sabre.

The dispute was over practices Sabre used to force airlines to use its services, and prevent carriers from reaching out to travel agents and business travelers more directly. American inherited the case when it acquired US Airways in 2013. US Airways had sued Sabre in 2011.

The result in May found that Sabre’s practices did not cause American Airlines any financial harm.

Friday’s filing shows that the two companies tried to resolve the fee dispute without involving the court but did not reach an agreement.

Business Travel

Sonder Adds Former CWT CEO Michelle Frymire to Its Board

1 year ago

In a further sign of its push into business travel, Sonder has added Michelle Frymire, the former CEO of corporate travel agency CWT, to its board of directors.

The next-generation hospitality company this month also announced it has a chain code, SS, in the Sabre and Amadeus global distribution systems, and earlier this year expanded its sales team to offer corporations negotiated rates and attract groups.

However, months after that expansion it restructured its operations, cutting 21 percent of corporate roles and seven percent of frontline roles, including its chief technology officer.

Frymire has experience on this front too, as during her 12 months at CWT she oversaw its financial restructuring and eventual exit from bankruptcy.

Manon Brouillette, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, is stepping down from Sonder’s board to focus on her current job at Verizon, the company said.

Airlines

Sabre Sues Hawaiian Airlines for Alleged Breach of Contract

1 year ago

Global distribution system provider Sabre is alleging that beginning May 31 Hawaiian Airlines implemented a new distribution policy that prevented U.S.-based travel agents using Sabre from booking the airline’s inter-island flights, and also began levying U.S.-based travel agents a $7 per segment surcharge on all bookings of all other Hawaiian Airlines’ flights through Sabre.

Those breach-of-contract allegations are laid out in a federal lawsuit filed August 30 in the Southern District of New York.

Hawaiian Airlines
A Hawaiian Airlines aircraft in 2021. Source: Eric Salary, Wikipedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hawaiian_Airlines,Airbus_A330-243,_N395HASEA(18160775328).jpg

Hawaiian has an assortment of inter-island flights such as Maui to Oahu, for example.

Saying the pandemic shrunk the airline’s network by 13 percent compared to 2019, Hawaiian informed travel agents several months ago that all of its flights, including its inter-island schedule, would be available to U.S. travel agents without surcharges through alternative means, including  HA Connect, the Hawaiian Airlines Partner Portal, and HA Connect Approved Partners. These include: ATPCO, ClarityTTS, NuFlights, Thomalex, Tidesquare, Travelfusion, TravelNDC, and Verteil Technologies, according to the airline.

Hawaiian said these partners use the New Distribution Capability, and connect to travel agencies through API (application programming interface) technology as an alternative to global distribution systems.

“Hawaiian’s breaches have also put Sabre at a competitive disadvantage,” Sabre said in the lawsuit.

Hawaiian Airlines denied that it breached its contract with Sabre.

“We believe Sabre’s claims to be baseless and that we are acting well within our contractual rights as we implement a new distribution strategy replacing dated technology with the modern NDC standard,” the airline said in a statement. “We intend to vigorously defend against these claims.”

Sabre seeks a jury trial and to recover damages.

A significant portion of the lawsuit is redacted to protect contract details.

Sabre-lawsuit-against-Hawaiian