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Has Data Security Risk Undercut the Role of Third-Party Aggregators in TRM?

Business Travel News (BTN) - 21 July 2017
Many organizations now view itinerary tracking as an absolute necessity for travel risk management, but to keep their personnel safe, are companies opening themselves up to potential data security risks? In passing the General Data Protection Regulation in May, the EU shined a light on responsible data handling and forthcoming penalties to organizations that don't comply with the rules within the next 12 months. With that and a number of high-profile data hacks over the last 12 months and even U.K. travel association ABTA itself falling foul of a cyberattack in March, data security and the individual's right to privacy also have risen on travel management agendas.

Hilton's & Marriott's 48-Hour Cancellation Policies

Business Travel News (BTN) - 21 July 2017
Hilton at the end of the month will begin charging a penalty for reservations canceled within 48 hours of hotel stays at properties in the U.S. and Canada. Marriott International released the same policy last month. For most franchise-based hotel companies, cancellation policies have been at the discretion of the property. That Marriott has introduced this policy companywide to its more than 5,700 hotels and that Hilton has followed suit have created concern that the hotel industry will move in lockstep with pricing policies the way the airlines do now.
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Deem Launches Facebook Messenger Chatbot & Expands Ground Transportation Partnerships

Business Travel News (BTN) - 20 July 2017
Deem is building out its Work Fource platform with a Facebook Messenger chatbot and integrations with chauffeured transportation providers. Additionally, the company has added Lyft to its ground transportation offering and made Intelligent Attach live in Work Fource.
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Primera Air Joins LCC Transatlantic Fray

Business Travel News (BTN) - 20 July 2017
Nordic low-cost carrier Primera Air will begin transatlantic service between the U.S. and both the U.K. and France next year. The carrier, based in Denmark and Latvia, will open bases in London Stansted Airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Birmingham Airport. In April, it will begin flights from each of those to each Newark Liberty International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport on Airbus A321neo aircraft. The flights will offer full-service Premium and low-fare Economy classes at "unprecedented" fares, according to president Andri Ingolfsson. Primera is the latest of several LCCs to build up transatlantic service, including Norwegian Air Shuttle, Iceland's Wow Air and International Airlines Group's new LCC, Level. Primera plans to expand transatlantic service over the next two years.
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Air France Millennial-Targeted Carrier Will Launch This Fall

Business Travel News (BTN) - 20 July 2017
This fall, Air France will launch a "lifestyle brand" targeting younger travelers. Joon will not fall under the low-cost-carrier model, as it will offer "products and services that reflect those of Air France," but will target a "young working clientele, the Millennials whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology," according to Air France. The carrier is holding back on specifics regarding Joon's products, services and destinations until September. It plans to begin with medium-haul flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in the fall and expand to long-haul flights in summer 2018. Air France previously code-named the brand Boost and has said it would focus on "ultracompetitive routes" in which Air France battles the Gulf carriers. Jean-Michel Mathieu, who has worked in Air France's network, revenue management, customer relations and digital services sections, will serve as Joon's CEO.
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Protection of EU Citizens' Data Is Now Your Domain

Business Travel News (BTN) - 19 July 2017
Companies with European Union citizens among their workforce have until May 2018 to ensure their travel programs comply with a new data protection regime that punishes transgressors more harshly than previous legislation. The General Data Protection Regulation requires businesses to take responsibility for understanding where personal data about their employees is held and verifying that the information is protected in line with European privacy standards, which are among the strictest in the world.
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United Reports Dramatic Decrease in Bumping Following Policy Changes

Business Travel News (BTN) - 19 July 2017
After United Airlines overhauled its policy regarding overbooking and bumping, involuntary denied boarding decreased 79 percent year over year in May and 88 percent year over year in June for the carrier. United announced the changes—reducing overbooking on flights where passengers historically have been reluctant to volunteer and bumping up its compensation cap to $10,000—in April, following the widely publicized forcible removal of a passenger. In the carrier's earnings call on July 19, CEO Oscar Munoz called those changes "a paradigm shift in our culture."
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Delta Adds More Self-Service Options to Professional Portal

Business Travel News (BTN) - 18 July 2017
Delta has revamped its Delta Professional portal for agents and corporate travel managers. New self-service options include Delta Edge Wallet, a point system for managing upgrades and vouchers. It allots points that travel managers and agents can use for upgrades and complimentary tickets, as well as drink and Wi-Fi vouchers they can transmit to travelers through the FlyDelta app. "It gets away from them having to administer all this stuff and allows [travel agents and managers] to push it down to their end consumer and user," Delta VP of sales operations and development Kristen Shovlin said. Among, other enhancements to the portal, which launched in 2014, travel agents and managers can process name corrections and it's easier for them to buy tickets after an initial reservation's time limit has elapsed. These represent the majority of requests that previously required support from Delta, SVP of global sales Bob Somers said.
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Conflicts of Interest in Your Contracts with TMCs & Suppliers

Business Travel News (BTN) - 17 July 2017
Every industry has buyers and sellers, and most have an additional network of partners that ease the pain points between the two. The business travel industry works similarly, but with airlines, hotels, transportation providers, technology companies, payment providers, global distribution systems, travel management companies and others, a travel buyer's supply chain is more complex than most. Though challenging for travel buyers to control, these interconnected relationships help them manage their category effectively.
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Will Annual Hotel RFPs Ever End?

Business Travel News (BTN) - 16 July 2017
Ask parties on both sides of the negotiating table what they think about the annual hotel RFP season, and more often than not, they'll say it's an inefficient, outdated process. But that doesn't mean everyone's ready to change it.
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A Tech Investment That Could Make Virtual Cards Easier for Midsize TMCs

Business Travel News (BTN) - 16 July 2017
A startup that could make it easier for more midsize travel management companies to issue virtual cards has received funding from CSI Enterprises' financial technology incubator, CSI Kick Start. ConnexPay aims to launch in November.
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U.S. Airline Delays & Cancellations Rose YOY in May

Business Travel News (BTN) - 14 July 2017
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the 12 carriers that report to the department got 79.1 percent of flights to the gate within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival time in May, down from 83.4 percent in May 2016 but up from 78.5 percent the previous month. Carriers canceled 0.8 percent of domestic flights in May, up from 0.5 percent in May 2016 but down from 1.6 percent in April 2017. Mishandled baggage reports were at the rate of 2.32 reports per 1,000 passengers, an improvement both year over year and month over month.
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ARC Volume Increases in June on Higher International Travel Volume

Business Travel News (BTN) - 14 July 2017
The consolidated dollar value of airline tickets—including fares, fees and taxes—sold by U.S.-based travel agencies increased 3.2 percent year over year in June to $7.6 billion, according to Airlines Report Corp. Airfares sold rose 4.9 percent, and the number of passenger trips increased 3.3 percent. A 12.2 percent increase in international trips offset a 1.1 percent decrease in domestic trips. The average ticket price of a U.S. round-trip ticket in June was $503, up about $6 year over year.
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Branded Fares Boost Delta Q2 Revenues

Business Travel News (BTN) - 13 July 2017
Delta's branded fares initiatives pulled in $100 million in revenue in the second quarter, helping boost passenger revenue 2.9 percent year over year to $9.2 billion. That also helped offset a $125 million hit from a severe weather outbreak in Atlanta that caused thousands of flight cancellations in early April.
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American Ends Codesharing with Etihad & Qatar as Gulf Carrier Dispute Heats Up

Business Travel News (BTN) - 13 July 2017
American Airlines has ended its codeshare relationships with both Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. "Given the extremely strong public stance that American has taken on the [Gulf carriers] issue, we have reached the conclusion that the codesharing relationships … no longer make sense for us," American said. Since American informed the two carriers of its decision on June 29, the long-brewing dispute between the U.S. legacy carriers and the Gulf carriers has reached another boiling point, spurred in part by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker referring to U.S. flight attendants as "grandmothers." He later apologized. This week, Politico also cited three anonymous administration officials that President Donald Trump is mulling changes to the U.S.'s Open Skies agreements with both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. However, no decision is imminent, according to Politico.

Online Booking Tool Will Be Redeveloped Using Blockchain

Business Travel News (BTN) - 12 July 2017
Innfinity Software Systems intends to redevelop the back end of its Innfinite online booking tool using blockchain, a move the company said will enable it to support the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability standards.
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Growth of Mobile Presents Challenge & Opportunity for Hotels

Business Travel News (BTN) - 12 July 2017
Hotel apps and mobile capabilities have become a vital part of guest experience and a key contributor to overall hotel guest satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. While that may be a positive development for an industry that has been building out its apps and mobile functionalities, use of mobile sometimes leads guests to book via online travel agencies, which contributes to lower guest satisfaction, according to the study.
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Two Agencies Test Sabre Chatbot

Business Travel News (BTN) - 12 July 2017
Sabre Corp. is testing chatbot technology with two travel agencies, Travel Solutions International USA and Casto Travel, to handle simple client service and support requests such as flight reservation changes. Travelers will access the chatbot, powered by Microsoft Bot Framework and Microsoft Cognitive Services, through Facebook Messenger, and it will pass any requests it cannot handle to a live travel agent. Sabre plans to use the trial to gather data on how often travelers use the chatbot and when they need to divert to a live agent.
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Mezi for Business Launches with TMC Partners

Business Travel News (BTN) - 11 July 2017
Artificial intelligence-powered travel app Mezi is poised to launch its "for business" product, according to CEO and co-founder Swapnil Shinde. The company has partnered with Adelman, Casto Travel and W Travel on the corporate front. It also has forged agreements with luxury travel provider Bluefish and Seat 1A. Shinde told BTN the company is deep in negotiations with additional travel management companies. At presstime a company spokesperson said Mezi had struck an agreement with American Express, but the company was not at liberty to disclose whether it was American Express Global Business Travel or Card Services.
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Hilton Partners with Travel and Transport for App Integration

Business Travel News (BTN) - 10 July 2017
Travel and Transport clients' travelers now can access and adjust their Hilton hotel details directly in the Dash Mobile app. Users can select their Hilton reservations and access the same functions present in the Hilton Honors app without navigating away from Dash Mobile. They can view check-in time and hotel location, and Hilton Honors members can select their guest rooms and use Digital Key at 1,700 Hilton properties. Additionally, travelers can use the app post-trip to export invoices to any expense management tools they've also downloaded to their mobile devices.

Kimpton's Plans for Growth in a Boutique-Thirsty World

Business Travel News (BTN) - 5 July 2017
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is on a path for growth, not just in the U.S., but also in Europe, where it opened its first property in May, the Kimpton De Witt in Amsterdam. Lodging editor Julie Sickel spoke with CEO Mike DeFrino.

The Trump Effect on Inbound U.S. Travel Has Not Materialized

Business Travel News (BTN) - 5 July 2017
International travel to the U.S increased 5.2 percent year over year in May as business travel growth "rallied" during the month, according to the U.S. Travel Association's Travel Trends Index. The growth came in spite of feared policy effects, including the ongoing fight over President Donald Trump's travel ban. "There is widespread talk of daunting challenges to the U.S. travel market—perception of the country abroad is mentioned most, but the strong dollar and slowing global economy are factors, as well—yet the resilience of our sector continues to astound," USTA president and CEO Roger Dow said. The organization projects that overall U.S. travel for the period from June through November will grow 1.8 percent year over year, though the growth rate in forward-looking domestic bookings is "markedly slower than this time last year."

Abu Dhabi Gets Laptop Ban Reprieve

Business Travel News (BTN) - 3 July 2017
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has lifted its laptop ban on flights from Abu Dhabi after a "successful validation of security measures," according to Etihad Airways. Of the 10 airports affected by the initial onboard electronics ban that began in March, Abu Dhabi is the only one that houses U.S. Customs and Border Protection Preclearance, which allows passengers to clear customs and immigration inspections in Abu Dhabi, before boarding, rather than upon arrival in the U.S. Last week, the DHS announced new security requirements for all airports serving the U.S., saying that those requirements, if followed, override the need for a laptop ban. Expanding the number of Preclearance sites was among the DHS's goals.
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Social Media for Travel Managers: Real-Time Information Is More Important Than Ever

Business Travel News (BTN) - 21 June 2017
Travel disruptions and unexpected events are all too common: Weather delays, infrastructure failures and natural disasters are just a few examples of what travel managers and travel risk managers face on an ongoing basis. In a world where information flows 24/7, it can be difficult to keep up. Now, social media, is transforming travel risk management in significant ways, as real-time information plays an increasingly important role in preparing for and managing disruptions as they unfold.
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Lufthansa Automates Online Check-In

Business Travel News (BTN) - 21 June 2017
Lufthansa has launched an automatic flight check-in service via its Innovation Hub subsidiary. The service, AirlineCheckins.com, gives passengers a special email address with which they can book their flights, and it automatically checks them in when online check-in becomes available for the flight. The service is free and passengers can use it with any carrier offering online check-in services, not just Lufthansa Group carriers. About 5,000 travelers used the service while it was in beta last year, according to Lufthansa.
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Uber CEO Resigns at Board's Urging

Business Travel News (BTN) - 21 June 2017
Uber founder Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO under pressure from the ride-hailing app's board. Kalanick's decision came at the behest of five of Uber's major investors, including venture capital firm Benchmark, one of its largest shareholders, according to The New York Times. The company has spent much of this year under a cloud of bad publicity, including employee claims of workplace harassment and a viral video of Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver. The company has pledged to clean up its corporate culture. As part of that effort, it hired Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei as SVP of leadership and strategy this month.

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