The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


Week in Review

Today, on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we urge you to join the fight to help end trafficking. It can be as simple as training your associates to recognize the sign or including language in RFPs inquiring about suppliers’ trafficking policies. Making a positive difference starts with the decision to make a change, no matter how big or small. There are resources for travel buyers to help end trafficking, tips on recognizing the signs of human trafficking, and additional resources for buyers and suppliers.

According to SiliconANGLE, Singapore Airlines recently revealed the data of 285 frequent flyers was compromised following a buggy website update.

Travel Leaders Group is set to acquire UK-based event management company Your Event Solutions (YES), Skift notes.

Winter storm Gia is expected to hit a 1,500-mile path from Colorado to the Mid-Atlantic region, USA TODAY reports. In advance of the storm, several major airlines are waiving change fees for passengers traveling through certain airports.

According to The Local Germany, walkouts by security personnel at several airports across Germany led to the cancellation of over 800 flights, affecting over 100,000 passengers. The Verdi union warns that another strike will take place on Tuesday at Frankfurt airport.  

Heathrow is offering local communities the opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback as it prepares to build its third runway, Buying Business Travel notes. The airport will hold 30 consultation events across neighborhoods surrounding the airport, where individuals can weigh in on how the airport should manage noise and local factors that Heathrow should consider in designing future flight paths.

According to ABC7 News, the pilot shortage is causing debate among some individuals in the airline industry. Boeing predicts airlines will need 790,000 new pilots around the world in the next 20 years, but even today, the shortage is causing small regional airlines to shut down. Some argue that the extensive training programs should be relaxed, but pilots warn that the 1,500 hours of flight time is necessary.

Portuguese airline HiFly aims to eliminate all single-use, disposable plastics in 2019, Business Traveller reports. The airline recently took its first flight completely free of single-use items like straws and cutlery.

What should you do if an airline damages your checked luggage? USA TODAY weighs in.

Avis Budget plans to equip 50,000 of its vehicles across Europe and the US with keyless technology, Buying Business Travel writes. The technology enables customers to completely manage their rental experience through the Avis mobile app.

According to Business Traveller, Air France is adding a “Healthy” meal option to the a la carte menu for its premium economy and economy class. Passengers can book the meals for long-haul flights departing Paris from April onwards.

During CES, Google revealed a few updates to Google Assistant including navigation, travel and translation features, The Next Web notes. The voice assistant can now help travelers check-in to a flight, retrieve a boarding pass, provide real-time translations, and more.

Airbnb has partnered with American Red Cross to raise awareness and provide safety information for hosts and guests, 4Hoteliers writes. The goal is to keep people safe from home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.


Week in Review

Another Friday, another Week in Review post to keep you updated on the latest business travel news.

According to Buying Business Travel, a new app for disabled train passengers is currently in development. The app will track passengers throughout their journey, making it easy for staff to know when and where to meet them for assistance. Currently, passengers must book assistance, and staff are given a print-out of requests every morning.  

A new survey reveals 77% of airports and 71% of airlines are either researching biometrics or planning to implement programs to identify travelers using facial recognition or other biometric means, Business Traveller reports.

The United States and Australia will launch a pilot program that allows Australian citizens to apply for Global Entry, Big Island Now writes. The Global Entry program allows for expedited customs clearance for pre-screened travelers.

In other airport news, Milan Linate Airport will close for three months next summer due to runway and terminal building renovations, Business Traveller writes.

The same source notes that Austria’s Salzburg Airport will also close in 2019 in order to refurbish its 60-year-old runway. The airport will close from April 24 to May 28.

According to The Washington Post, the Senate on Wednesday approved H.R. 302, a bill that provides long-term funding for the FAA and prohibits voice calls on planes, among other things. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee states that the President will sign the bill during a 2:45pm signing ceremony on Friday.

Budget airline Primera Air officially ceased operations on Tuesday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded, Reuters notes.

This week, our podcast highlights a recent webinar called Solving Real Enterprise Problems Through AI. AppZen’s Ryan Floersch looks at how AI is empowering managers to take control of team spend at a field level.

According to Investing.com, Avis Budget Group acquired a car rental company in Portugal called Turiscar Group, adding nearly 3,000 vehicles to its network.

Also in acquisition news, Xenia Hotels & Resorts acquired Fairmont Pittsburgh in a $30 million deal, TravelDailyNews International reports.

According to Buying Business Travel, Delta Air Lines plans to launch personalized corporate sites that will allow business travelers to view the benefits included in their company’s sales agreement.


Re-Engineering the Car Rental Process

Last week Avis Car Rental announced its updated mobile app, Avis Now, has gained more than 250,000 users since it rolled out in July. During GBTA Convention’s Media Day this summer, Avis Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Scott Deaver announced the major overhaul to the company’s app with the addition of the new Avis Now features designed to transform the car rental process and put corporate travelers in control.

GBTA’s Caitlin Gomez caught up with Scott at the GBTA Broadcast Studio during Convention as well. He shared that the goal behind Avis Now was to completely re-engineer the car rental process to meet customer demands and needs. He also highlighted industry trends and said we are seeing the beginning of a real change about the entire way people use mobility.

View the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s Convention.