When Delta Air Lines and TripActions last winter resolved their dispute, the parties suggested it had something to do with the display interface. As it turns out, Delta also had a problem with the TripActions rewards program.
The next economic recession always is a matter of when. Currently in a 10-year run of strong performance, the travel industry is starting to produce indicators suggesting a downturn may come sooner than later.
No independent, non-U.S. corporate booking tool provider has ever really succeeded in this market. Serko is trying to be the first. The New Zealand-based software provider, which also offers expense management, is spending significantly to grow its presence in Canada and the United Kingdom as well. The company expects travel management company reseller partnerships in these markets to begin paying off during the next year.
American Express Global Business Travel Execs: Global Corporate Clients Are Increasingly Concerned About Lufthansa’s Intransigence
The largest travel management company is not acquiescing to Lufthansa Group’s distribution strategy. According to American Express Global Business Travel executives, the airline company refuses to support what corporate customers need, particularly comparison shopping. That sets it apart from other airlines which, while pushing forward on new means of distribution, took actions to support efficiency and price assurance in corporate travel.
New regulations in the European Union governing payments there with locally issued cards are set to take effect next month. Part of Europe’s second Payment Services Directive, they require strong customer authentication for many types of purchases. To the relief of many in corporate travel, lodge cards and virtual cards currently are exempt. The same goes for “secure” B2B transactions, such as those processed through global distribution systems. While these common corporate payment mechanisms are out of scope, plenty of questions remain without much time to sort it all out.
GBTA billed the session as a point-counterpoint. Well-known and charismatic buyers from two very large companies would debate the merits of using dynamic pricing over static rates for lodging. “Who will survive the debate?” the session’s description asked. “Hear from both sides as they passionately argue their position for and against dynamic pricing.” Those expecting contention were in for a letdown.
Business travel startups face tough choices as they mature. TripActions and TravelPerk remain independent as their investors raise stakes in what is not a get-rich-quick industry. Others could be acquired by existing travel management companies. Then there is a middle ground.