The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


Week in Review

Happy New Year! The Week in Review is back in action to provide you with the latest business travel industry news.

In late November, Marriott announced that approximately 500 million guests (who made a reservation at a Starwood property) were impacted in a data breach. Today, the hospitality company downgraded its estimate to 383 million compromised records, Skift reports. Since some guests have multiple records in Marriott's system, the number of guests impacted is likely less than 383 million.

According to BBC, London’s Heathrow Airport and Sussex’s Gatwick Airport will invest millions of pounds in anti-drone equipment that can obstruct communications between drones and their operators. This move follows a drone disruption at Gatwick that caused 1,000 cancelled flights over 3 days last month.

In acquisition news, Flight Centre Travel Group has agreed to acquire Casto Travel’s U.S. operations, Skift writes. The Australia-based travel agency has a mission to strengthen its North American presence.

AirlineRatings.com has released its list of the safest airlines in the world for 2019, with Qantas topping the list, USA TODAY notes. The list also includes the 10 safest low-cost airlines.

Qatar Airways acquired a 5 percent stake in China Southern Airlines on 28 December, Buying Business Travel reports. The airline also holds shares in International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Air Italy, and Cathay Pacific.

New York was the world’s top destination for business travel in 2018, Business Traveller writes. The annual rankings from Egencia highlight the most traveled-to destinations for business. London, Paris, Shanghai, and Toronto are also among the top five destinations.

According to Skift, new safety concerns present a complicated challenge for event organizers. From extreme weather to terrorist attacks to widespread disease outbreaks, the duty of care bar continues to rise for event planners.

Singapore Airlines is now offering passengers the ability to pre-book their meal choices, Business Traveller reports. This only applies to travelers in suites, first and business class.

Buying Business Travel writes on the importance of having proper risk management processes and programs in place. Is your organization prepared to locate and help your travelers in the face of an emergency?

According to Business Traveller, the global ridesharing industry is valued at $61.3 billion and is expected to grow to $218 billion by 2025.


Week in Review

When the Boeing 707 entered the aviation world in 1958, the seat pitch measured at 34 inches. Today, that measurement varies widely depending on the airline and distance being travelled. The Telegraph shares varying statistics on legroom, including the best and worst airlines for legroom and seat widths today compared to 30 years ago.

In anticipation of Brexit, the United Kingdom is planning on hiring 1,000 new Border Force staff “to make sure that every area is made secure”, Business Traveller reports.

Delta Air Lines and Korean Air have received clearance to launch their transpacific joint venture, Buying Business Travel reports.

Qantas made history this week, with the launch of a 17-hour direct flight from Australia to London, USA TODAY reports.

Following in Marriott’s footsteps, Hilton is cutting the commissions it pays to third-party group and meetings planners at hotels in the U.S. and Canada, HotelMarketing’com reports.

According to Bloomberg, Qantas plans to expand its schedule of ultra-long-haul routes and is evaluating the addition of a direct flight from Australia to Chicago.

On the latest episode of our The Business of Travel podcast, Jon Gray of Rockport Analytics breaks down key takeaways from our annual business travel spending forecast and discusses what each means for the business travel industry.

Delta Sky Clubs are now offering biometric check-in options for its members who are enrolled in CLEAR, Business Traveler notes.

According to Skift, expense technology providers are using big data techniques and machine learning to make it easier for travel managers and financial departments to design smarter travel policies.

Following the new tax bill that was signed in December, much of the hotel industry is hoping that lower corporate taxes will revive corporate meetings, The New York Times reports.

Bloomberg reports airlines are drawing scrutiny from the U.K. government over ancillary fees. In 2016 alone, 66 airlines generated $45 billion in ancillary revenue.

Early this week, Uber sold its Southeast Asian ride-hailing business to Singapore-based rival Grab, Skift reports. However, TechCrunch reports regulators in Singapore believe the purchase violates competition laws.

USA TODAY shares a list highlighting the USA’s best airlines for on-time flights.


Week in Review

If you thought winter’s worst was over – oh boy, are you in for some fun! Much of Europe was plagued by extreme weather conditions ranging from heavy snows and freezing winds, CNN reports. Not surprisingly, the so-dubbed “Beast from the East” disrupted travel in Scotland, Ireland, England and most of mainland Europe.

The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. is experiencing its own weather problems, and as of Friday afternoon, USA TODAY notes airlines have already cancelled over 2,500 flights.

According to 4Hoteliers, a no-single use plastic hotel launches in Thailand in May. The hotel claims to be one of Asia’s first hotels to prohibit the use of plastics.

AccorHotels CEO Sebastian Bazin suspects mobile payments and interactive technologies like Google Home and Amazon Echo could threaten the hospitality sector, Hotelmarketing’com notes.

IATA aims to have one billion passengers fly on sustainable aviation fuel flights by 2025, TravelDailyNews International reports.

According to Skift, American Airlines and Qantas have filed an application through the U.S. Department of Transportation to form a joint business.

The same source reports Uber and Lyft drivers in New York City have received the green light to display ads in their vehicles.

In airport improvement news, Buying Business Travel reports Dubai International Airport will be upgrading its southern runway, resulting in a 45-day closure in 2019.  

Chicago O’Hare International Airport may also be seeing some major improvements in the $8.5 billion USD range. The Chicago Tribune claims Mayor Emanuel and Chicago’s airlines are currently negotiating a deal to expand the airport as part of an eight-year plan.

Continuing on with this airport theme, Business Traveler writes Denver International Airport is officially a smoke-free facility, joining more than 600 airports across the country.

4Hoteliers reports Qatar Airways acquired the 174-room Sheraton Melbourne Hotel in a A$135 million deal (~$104.6 million USD).

According to Bloomberg, airlines are backing a startup that could fix the overbooking problems we’ve been witnessing recently.

Business Traveller notes Singapore’s Changi Airport is increasing departure fees for passengers in order to fund improvements to the airport.

House lawmakers blasted the Transportation Security Administration over its PreCheck strategies this week, USA TODAY reports.

In other TSA news, the organization is aiming to improve the transgender screening process, USA TODAY writes.


Week in Review

Buying Business Travel reports that the UK laptop ban has been lifted on Tunisia flights.

According to USA TODAY, Qantas is planning for a 20-hour non-stop flight from Australia to London.

Buying Business Travel reports that Vietnam Airlines and Garuda have agreed to an extended partnership including more codeshares.

Business Traveller notes that the disparity between business and economy classes is growing.

According to Buying Business Travel, corporate travel rewards specialist Rocketrip has signed deals with a range of new corporate clients.

Tnooz shares findings from a new study by Carlson Wagonlit Travel which reveals that 88% of business travelers find business travel easier to navigate thanks to technology.

Buying Business Travel notes that Labour leaders could vote against the addition of a third runway at Heathrow due to environmental concerns about pollution.

According to Skift, KLM has become the first non-Chinese airline to accept WeChat Pay.

Tnooz reports that Delta has added video chat to its customer service line-up.

Business Traveller claims that Portuguese immigration officers planned a walk-out on Thursday and Friday.

According to Buying Business Travel, Loganair signed a new distribution deal with Sabre.

NPR reports that China is relaunching their high-speed rail service, which happens to be the world’s fastest inter-city lines.

Buying Business Travel notes that Edinburgh Airport has begun working on a new £80 million extension to its terminal.

According to Skift, UK business travel is in a post-Brexit slump.

Business Traveller reports that Qatar Airways has launched a pre-order dining service enabling business and first class passengers to pre-order their main course up to 14 days before departure.

BBC has revealed the worst flight routes and longest average delays experienced by UK passengers.

According to Hotelmarketing’com, hotels are making strides in measuring ancillary revenues.