The Business of Travel


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.

Hit The Ground Running: Uber, Lyft, Autonomous Cars and Ground Transportation Upheaval

Welcome to Hit The Ground Running - a new series of articles focused on the latest trends in ground transportation coming to you the second Wednesday of every month from official GBTA guest blog contributor, David Litwak of Mozio. 


Uber, Lyft, Autonomous Cars and Ground Transportation Upheaval

A couple years ago when we were negotiating with a major partner over a ground transportation RFP I found an unexpected clause: they wanted a competitive advantage and were proposing exclusivity in autonomous vehicles. I kind of chuckled, for two reasons: 1) I thought it was planning way too far ahead and 2) once autonomous vehicles arrived I believed they'd be a major transportation category, so I thought that was like asking for exclusivity in "cars" or “trains.”

But I realized that most travel managers and TMCs don't know what is happening in the ground transportation world, how they should manage the chaos, what they should pay attention to now vs ignore, and the questions they should be asking to manage their company’s ground transportation spend.

Every month brings another billion-dollar funding round for a rideshare company.

Toyota, Google and Ford are throwing around terms like Mobility Cloud and Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

Companies don’t know how to manage the security of increasingly affordable and convenient carpooling and public transit services.

The same rideshare company (read: Uber) can be in various stages of legal limbo in each market. How do you tell your employees you can use them in one location but not another, and actually enforce that?

Also, there are contentious battles about whether or not the cost premium of traditional black car providers is worth it, and whether or not rideshare companies are putting their riders in danger by cutting corners on background checks.

Travel managers often have to choose partners that will last them years, but these days many companies are reacting by just not dealing with the situation.

A healthy percentage have "don't ask, don't tell" policies around rideshare: they'll reimburse for it but they won't explicitly say you can use it or encourage it. And "official" ground partners often go unused by the vast majority of a company's employees.

As of now ground transportation is largely unmanaged.

This is the first in a series of ground transportation articles we're calling “Hit The Ground Running.” The point is to help you, the travel manager or TMC, navigate the massive upheaval in the ground transportation industry and figure out how you want to manage it.

To start I want to focus on a central question: is Lyft and Uber's pricing sustainable and how does it relate to the approaching autonomous car revolution.

Autonomous cars are still a long way away, but their looming presence is still felt in the pricing policies of Uber and Lyft, which have ramifications on the car rental market and traditional limousine providers.

Recent reports show that riders only pay about 41 percent of the cost of every ride on Uber.

This has led to many traditional car service companies to cry foul: Uber and Lyft will have to eventually increase prices. The current way of operating is not sustainable.

But I think they are focusing on the wrong thing: Uber/Lyft doesn't have to sustain these pricing policies forever -- they just have to sustain them until autonomous vehicles cut out the driver and their pricing becomes profitable.

Ben Thompson, the business analyst behind the website Stratechery, has a wonderful comparison of car ownership vs. using Uber in your daily life that I want to repeat here:

"Private cars (not including parking costs) cost about $0.50/mile for the average American. Uber, meanwhile, prices based on a combination of per-trip flat-fees, a price/mile, and a price/minute; taking a basket of cities the cost-per-mile for an average commute is $1.80/mile.

Add it all up and commuting with a private car costs $2,823/year, while an Uber costs $10,161. However, this doesn’t include parking: the average American pays $1,300 a year for parking,which bumps up the cost of a private car to $4,123/year, which is still a lot less than Uber."

Now this is for commuters, not for travelers, but I think car rental is analogous to temporary "ownership" of a vehicle in a destination so this is at least directionally accurate, and it shows the math behind Uber and Lyft’s pricing decisions.

80 percent of the cost of a ride is the driver in the car. Once autonomous cars are ubiquitous, Uber goes from subsidizing 40 percent of the ride to having a healthy margin.

Uber and Lyft are pricing for market share under the assumption that in 3-5 years, maybe longer, when autonomous vehicles arrive, they will no longer be losing billions a year and will become profitable. Until then, it's a land grab.

So in some ways, while Autonomous vehicles haven't arrived, we are already feeling the effects of them as investors subsidize rides in order to try to earn your loyalty.

As more Uber and Lyft competitors merge (Didi in China & 99 in Brazil), are acquired by car companies (MyTaxi by Daimler) or raise massive rounds (everyone), you should expect more and more market share to be taken up by these options, and for the market to get more fragmented as more of them expand into more geographies.

And because their incentives are marketshare, not profitability, as they wait out autonomous cars, their prices will be consistently lower than many other alternatives. It’s not irrational or unsustainable -- their incentives are just different.

What does this mean for you?

In short, at the moment, autonomous cars are only as relevant as they affect rideshare expansion, but you need a policy better than “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” regarding Uber and Lyft.


David Litwak, CEO, Mozio


About David

David Litwak is the CEO of Mozio (, a ground transportation aggregator that integrates with 3,000 limos, express trains, rideshare, taxis and even public transit and provides corporations with websites and apps to book on-demand and in advance. Mozio runs AMEX GBT's "GBT Ground" platform and counts Carlson Wagonlit as an investor. David can be reached at

Unifying the Ground Transport Market

For the first time in history, we carved out a dedicated space on the GBTA Convention 2017 Expo to highlight innovative startup technologies impacting the business travel industry. Mozio, for example, is a ground transportation aggregation platform enabling travel managers and business travelers alike to book a variety of transport options through a mobile app.

CEO David Litwak stopped by our Broadcast Studio to discuss the inner workings of the platform and how he sees it being incorporated within the business travel community. As Litwak explained, Mozio aims to unify the convoluted market and enable managers to gain visibility into their often-unmanaged ground transport spend.

View the full interview:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for further insights and Broadcast Studio interviews from GBTA Convention 2017.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Phocuswright again to highlight innovative startups at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. Keep your eyes peeled for the incoming class of innovators!

Week in Review

After a brief hiatus, the Week in Review is back! This week started off with a massive power outage at Atlanta’s international airport on Sunday leading to over 1,150 canceled flights and the issuance of a ground stop by the FAA, USA TODAY reports.

On Monday, an Amtrak train in Washington derailed off a bridge resulting in multiple fatalities, according to NBC News. The train was traveling at 80 MPH in a 30-MPH zone and was not using positive train control, a technology that can prevent derailments caused by excessive speed. 

Skift reports that President Trump called for infrastructure improvements following the Amtrak accident. In the past, he has stated he will introduce a $1 trillion proposal to update airports, roads, and other public infrastructure.  

In other ground transportation news, The State Journal-Register notes Illinois’ $1.95 billion high-speed rail project is in its final phase after seven years of construction.

The business travel community continues to embrace the sharing economy, with 51% of companies allowing the use of ride-hailing apps in their travel policies. GBTA released a series of infographics this week that highlight app-based, ride-hailing usage in corporate travel, ground transportation quick facts and travel manager concern for various ground transportation options.

According to Commercial Property Executive, Choice Hotels will acquire WoodSpring Suites in a $231 million deal, adding 240 extended-stay hotels to its portfolio.

Also in acquisition news, TravelDailyNews International reports NOVUM Hospitality acquired one of Frankfurt’s largest conference hotels which boasts 396 rooms and 14 event spaces.

Digital Trends shares news of a growing email scam that cost Japan Airlines nearly $3.39 million USD. An airline employee was tricked into making payments to bank accounts created by fraudsters.

Travelers can now send messages to hotels directly from their Google search results, according to Hotel News Resource. Hoteliers may activate this feature by signing into their Google My Business page and navigating to the chat tile.

On Wednesday, Congress passed a controversial tax bill, which many travel companies are enthusiastically backing, Skift reports.

After the UK officially leaves the EU in 2019, British passports will return to their blue and gold design, Business Traveller notes.

Traveling this holiday season? TravelDailyNews International reveals the most stressful US airports based on flight cancellations.

From the shocking news of Brexit to multiple travel and electronics bans, Skift looks back on how corporate travel became much more complicated in 2017.


Your list for this week comes from Skift:

25 Travel Moments that Mattered in 2017

Travel Manager Concern for Ground Transportation Options

Today, we release the third, and final, in a series of infograhpics on the latest ground transportation statistics. Today's infographic looks at concern among travel managers when it comes to various ground transportation options.

View the previous ground transportation infographics here:

Ground Transportation Quick Facts

App-Based, Ride-Hailing Usage in Corporate Travel



App-Based, Ride-Hailing Usage in Corporate Travel

In a follow-up to yesterday's infographic on ground transportation quick facts, today's infographic showcases app-based, ride-hailing usage in corporate travel.

Stay tuned to the GBTA blog for more on the latest ground transportation stats.

Ground Transportation Quick Facts

A recent survey of North American travel managers revealed the following quick facts when it comes to ground transportation:

Stay tuned to the GBTA blog for more on the latest ground transportation stats.


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.

GBTA Foundation Rolls Out New Car Rental RFP

The GBTA Foundation today unveiled the new GBTA Request for Proposal (RFP) for Car Rental, in partnership with Enterprise. The updated RFP is global, includes a sustainability module and is more efficient and easier to use.

A task force made up of representatives from across the industry including car rental agencies, Travel Management Companies and buyers worked to update and develop this new resource for the 2017 negotiating season and beyond. The final product achieves our main objective to create an RFP that can become the universal travel industry standard. It is a global RFP that is easier to use, more efficient, and more effective at specifying what the customer is looking for and establishing the evaluation criteria for assessment.

“The integrity of the RFP process is extremely important to the businesses and travel managers we work with every day,” said Claire Carstensen, Global Sustainability Manager for Enterprise Holdings. “By making this RFP template available globally industrywide, there is consistency and transparency when they are choosing the best partners to handle their business. In addition, the new updated RFP is designed with a comprehensive sustainability section, an increasingly critical issue that all companies need to be prepared to address as part of their supply chain.”

This truly impressive resource is the result of an extensive process and the culmination of a lot of hard work with stakeholders across the travel industry. Over several months, the task force reviewed the existing Car Rental RFP, updated sections where necessary, removed outdated pieces, discussed what might be missing and also added a completely new sustainability module.

Available free of charge to all, this RFP is designed to become the new industry standard for travel professionals, simplifying and easing the RFP process. Download the new Car Rental RFP here.

Interested in learning more? Please join a complimentary GBTA Foundation webinar this Thursday at 2pm ET featuring Claire Carstensen, Global Sustainability Manager, Enterprise Holdings. Claire will provide an in-depth walk through of the new Car Rental RFP form now available for travel professionals. Participants will learn how to access the new template, understand the main areas of the Car Rental RFP and learn the benefits of including the Sustainability Module in your RFP process.

Video: iCars President Talks Duty of Care

Shortly after the company announced its plans for national expansion, iCars President Ed Silver joined GBTA’s Caitlin Gomez at the Broadcast Studio at Convention this summer. The business travel industry is constantly evolving, and it is not news that in recent years, the sharing economy and technology have led to massive disruption in the ground transportation sector.

Recent research from the GBTA Foundation found one in five (22 percent) business travelers don’t even know if their company travel policy allows the use of ride-sharing type services. Given the continuously changing travel landscape, there are a number of considerations that individual business travelers as well as corporate travel departments need to account for when approving use of sharing-economy options. Personal liability, security or broader duty of care concerns top the list.

Ed shared iCars focus on meeting this duty of care element for the corporate travel professional and the importance they place on trust and security.

View the full video here:

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