Twenty-year industry consultant Donald Swartz is reinventing his shingle. The Florida-based managing director of Corporate Travel Buyer Resources wants to streamline the corporate travel procurement process. New programs represent selected sets of suppliers and travel management companies, offering clients consortia rates and quicker sourcing.
Corporations tend to struggle with buying long-term accommodations. Multiple departments may be involved and a simple, consolidated supply chain isn’t yet a reality. Airbnb last month acquired Urbandoor, an online tool for booking furnished and serviced apartments. BridgeStreet and Oakwood have expanded their distribution. Relative newcomer 2nd Address is pursuing partnerships with travel management companies and corporate booking tool providers. These are among the new and familiar names in corporate housing trying to adapt to an evolving workforce.
Any corporate travel operations professional can tell you that a lot of business travel bookings start with email. Sometimes this takes the form of a request that, once approved, moves to a travel agent for booking. Ideally it’s generated by an interface like a web page form that structures the output. But that’s not always something travelers can easily access.
IHG recently carved out resources to address clients in sports, media and entertainment. More than most other industry verticals, this specialized B2B focus presents an interesting set of challenges for hotels and requires coordination across multiple departments.
Economy “Light” fares from Lufthansa Group carriers will be available to Egencia users in 10 European markets from Sept. 23. This is made possible by a booking connection between the travel management company and the airline group using Lufthansa’s NDC-compliant application programming interface. Lufthansa’s Light fares were in global distribution systems before the airline removed them last year to promote direct and NDC-compliant channels.
U.S. Bank To Bring All-In-One Mobile Travel And Expense App To Frequent Travelers, Building On A Solution For Infrequent Ones
U.S. Bank and Chrome River will add travel booking and features for road warriors to their mobile app that unites virtual payment and expense reporting. Announced in May and still in testing, the Expense Wizard app initially targets infrequent travelers, non-employees like job candidates and contractors, and anyone else without individual corporate cards. Travel management company integration for a travel booking component is in the works. The version for frequent travelers is expected early next year.
Last month’s GBTA convention continued the corporate travel profession’s study of where policy compliance is weak and how to fix it. In particular, discussions focused on business travelers who stray from their firms’ preferred corporate booking channels.