The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Week in Review

Thai-based hospitality group Minor Hotels has purchased an additional stock in NH Hotels, increasing its holding to 94%, Business Traveller reports. The purchase will enable Minor Hotels to expand in Europe, while also allowing NH Hotels to put down roots in Asia.

Icelandair has signed an agreement to buy budget airline WOW Air for nearly $18 million USD (approximately €15.9 million), Buying Business Travel notes.

According to France24, Airbnb is being sued by French hoteliers for unfair competition. The main trade group for French hotels, The Union of Trades and Industries of the Hotel Industry (UMIH) accuses the home-sharing company of “knowingly violating” certain imposed rules.

What will the election mean for business travel? Regardless of who wins or loses, a change in committee leadership means a change in governing philosophies, ultimately affecting our industry. Here are the main travel-related committees to keep an eye on.  

Birmingham Airport has unveiled a £500m master plan to increase capacity and improve the traveler experience, Buying Business Travel notes. The investment aligns with the airport’s desire to grow traffic by 40% (to 18 million passengers annually) by 2033.

Over the next 20 years, China will account for approximately 19% of the world’s aircraft demand, Business Traveller reports. According to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast, the country is projected to require nearly 7,400 new passenger and freighter aircraft.

Star Alliance is putting virtual reality technology to the test in select lounges, Business Traveller writes. Travelers flying through CDG in Paris and FCO in Rome can try out the virtual reality systems, which may eventually be offered on planes and across lounges globally.

The TSA will begin testing new technology that can screen multiple passengers from up to 25 feet away, Los Angeles Times reports. If the terahertz screening devices pass the initial tests at a TSA facility, they may be further tested at U.S. airports.  

According to IATA’s latest 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast, air traffic could double to 8.2 billion travelers in 2037. The forecast also outlines China, the United States, India, Indonesia and Thailand as the fastest growing aviation markets.

A no-deal Brexit would result in 5 million fewer outbound trips made globally by 2022, Travel Weekly reports. These findings come from a new study by Euromonitor International. They also claim Spain will see the brunt of this, since UK travelers account for nearly 21% of inbound revenues in the country.

Following in Lyft’s footsteps, ride-sharing company Uber has launched a Ride Pass subscription option in select cities, Business Traveller notes.

Chicago’s O’Hare Airport received a new 2.5 million square-foot parking and car rental facility on Wednesday, ABC7 reports. The $242 million facility features 13 car rental agencies, 12 electronic charging stations and “innovative parking guidance technology”.

Week in Review

The United States has been plagued by winter storms in the Northeast, Ohio Valley and Chicago this week. A storm on Wednesday led to 1,235 cancelled flights and 5,900 delays throughout the country, USA TODAY reports.

According to NBC Chicago, the Chicago area is currently facing its biggest snowstorm of the season, causing multiple airlines to waive their change fees.

In acquisition news, Conference & Incentive Travel reports American Express GBT bought HRG in a reported £400 million ($552 million USD) deal.

IATA expects 7.8 billion people to travel globally by air in 2036. The organization is now warning of the infrastructure challenges the aviation industry faces, TravelPulse shares.

If you’re traveling through Dubai International Airport, you’re in luck. DXB recently installed smart passport gates to expedite transaction times, Buying Business Travel reports.

According to Skift, Singapore’s Changi Airport wants to charge travelers a fee to help fund the construction of its new terminal.  

In 1967, a group of passenger travel associations began laying the groundwork for what would become the National Passenger Traffic Association (NPTA). Although we go by GBTA today, we will always appreciate our history. Take a black and white look at our past through our photos from the ‘60s to ‘70s.

Buying Business Travel notes Star Alliance created a digital services platform in partnership with Accenture that “allows customers to access a range of member airlines’ services through each other’s apps.”

In other Star Alliance news, Skift claims the alliance is looking to add more low-cost carrier members.

Eurostar has confirmed the launch of its Amsterdam route to be on April 4, Business Traveller shares. Travelers may begin purchasing tickets on February 20.

According to Buying Business Travel, Airbnb plans to open its distribution platform to traditional hospitality providers through a technology partnership with Siteminder.

Business Traveller reports Lufthansa Group plans to introduce preferred seating zones on select long-haul services.

U.S. News & World Report has released its 2018 list of top-ranked hotels, MeetingsNet writes.

According to Bitcoin News, Japan’s leading low-cost airline plans to accept Bitcoin in the near future.

The Best Airline for Business Travelers

A couple of days ago, Forbes contributor Grant Martin revealed the best airlines for business travelers by reviewing the various business class amenities offered by United, Delta and Jet Blue. Since we aren’t partial to one airline in particular and we don’t want to spoil the surprise, you can check out the article here.

In addition to being a GBTA Convention 2016 exhibitor, United happens to be a Star Alliance member airline. GBTA's Caitlin Gomez had the opportunity to chat with Star Alliance’s Olav Glorvigen at our Broadcast Studio last summer to discuss compliance and antitrust issues.

The two also discussed the future of Star Alliance and the complex nature of the alliances. Olav mentioned, “The customers – they appreciate that we look out for them, secure them, make sure that we protect them in an ever-changing environment when it comes to ATI laws.”

View the full video here:

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