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Google Parent Company Invests in Lyft

Business Travel News (BTN) - 19 October 2017
Lyft has raised $1 billion in a financing round led by CapitalG, the growth investment fund of Google parent company Alphabet. The financing brings Lyft's total valuation to $11 billion. CapitalG partner David Lawee also will join Lyft's board.
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JetBlue Launches New Distribution Strategy

Business Travel News (BTN) - 19 October 2017
JetBlue is pulling content from a dozen online "lower-yield" online travel agencies as part of a new cost-cutting online distribution strategy focused on direct bookings. The affected agencies are largely leisure-focused sites, and the list does not include OTA giants Priceline and Expedia. Additionally, the move does not affect bookings through any corporate travel tools, a spokesperson confirmed.

Gett Users Soon Will Be Able to Book Carey International Cars

Business Travel News (BTN) - 19 October 2017
In a few weeks, users of U.K.-based Gett's ride-hailing app will be able to book Carey International black car services through the app and Gett's One Transport platform, according to a Carey spokesperson. Carey International operates in more than 1,000 cities worldwide. The spokesperson said the partnership is significant because chauffeured companies and ride-hailing platforms have had a contentious relationship. Carey was in talks with Lyft last year, but the spokesperson said the talks fizzled. Gett and Carey also are considering a single platform on which clients of either company can book either service, a move meant to benefit managed travel
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AccorHotels Goes Live on TripLink

Business Travel News (BTN) - 18 October 2017
AccorHotels has gone live on Concur TripLink, which means that customers who link their Concur and AccorHotels Le Club loyalty program accounts can access company-negotiated rates when they book on Accor's website. The booking also prepopulates into Concur itinerary app TripIt, allowing travel managers to capture off-channel bookings, and into Concur Expense. Marriott International, Starwood, Omni and IHG also are live on TripLink.
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Julie Coker Graham Will Co-Chair Meetings Mean Business Coalition

Business Travel News (BTN) - 16 October 2017
The Meetings Mean Business Coalition advocacy group has appointed Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO Julie Coker Graham as its next co-chair. She will join Meeting Professionals International president and CEO Paul Van Deventer in leading the coalition and promoting the value of face-to-face meetings. Coker Graham replaces HelmsBriscoe EVP Richard Harper, who has co-chaired the group since 2016.
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Amex Antitrust Case Heads to U.S. Supreme Court

Business Travel News (BTN) - 16 October 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review an antitrust case against American Express, following a June petition by 11 state attorneys general, according to the U.S. Supreme Court website. The court will hear arguments in early 2018 and rule by June, according to Bloomberg. The case challenges Amex's rules that bar Amex-accepting merchants from steering customers to forms of payment that cost merchants less per transaction.
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Delta's Q4 Corporate Travel Outlook Is Highest in Years

Business Travel News (BTN) - 11 October 2017
Delta's total passenger revenue increased 3.6 percent year over year to $9.4 billion in the third quarter as the carrier reported the rosiest year-end corporate travel outlook it has seen in years. The carrier's most recent survey of corporate travel managers indicated more than 85 percent intend to maintain or increase spending levels into the fourth quarter and the beginning of 2018, Delta president Glen Hauenstein said in its earnings call. That number is 9 percentage points higher than a year prior and the highest fourth-quarter result since Delta began the survey in 2011, he said.
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Etouches Brings Zentila Integration to Market

Business Travel News (BTN) - 11 October 2017
Event management software provider Etouches has added a Venue Sourcing offering to its platform. It uses the sourcing and booking technology Etouches gained when it acquired Zentila in June 2016. The integration contributes to Etouches' quest to offer an end-to-end meetings solution. First comes Venue Sourcing, then Etouches' foundational event management software. And in May, Etouches integrated the wearable smart badge technology it acquired with Loopd to manage real-time attendee engagement. That same month, private equity firm HGGC acquired a majority stake in Etouches, a move that may strengthen and meld the data capabilities that derive from Zentila, Etouches and Loopd.
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Serko & Gullivers Travel Partner for Hotel Content

Business Travel News (BTN) - 11 October 2017
Booking and expense tool Serko has formed a hotel content partnership with Gullivers Travel Associates that will grow Serko into "one of the single largest hotel metasearch platforms for corporate programs," according to the company. The deal provides Serko corporate customers access to "tens of thousands" of GTA's hotel suppliers and enables them to book both their own negotiated rates and GTA's discounted rates. Travelers can book via corporate online booking tool Serko Online, a self-service platform for small businesses called serko.travel or an impending premium, chatbot platform called Zeno. Serko struck a similar content deal with HRS earlier this year.
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Supreme Court Takes a Pass on Challenge to Trump Travel Ban 2.0

Business Travel News (BTN) - 11 October 2017
The Supreme Court has dropped a challenge to U.S. President Donald Trump's second travel ban, issued in March. The case originated in a Maryland federal district court and survived an appeal in the Fourth Circuit Court. The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on Oct. 10 but canceled those hearings on Sept. 25 when Trump issued a proclamation, his third version of a travel ban. Technically, the Supreme Court vacated the appeals court's decision and removed the case from the docket, calling it moot now that Trump has issued a third travel ban to replace the second.
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How Some of the Major Hotel Companies Stack Up for AI

Business Travel News (BTN) - 9 October 2017
Artificial intelligence software app company Noodle.ai has ranked a number of major hotel companies on AI adoption versus stock value. "There are really three things you need to do AI well," said Noodle.ai CEO Stephen Pratt. "One is an understanding of AI analytics. The second is around Big Data. Third is around supercomputing technology."
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Chrome River Pilots Tool to Examine ROI of Travel

Business Travel News (BTN) - 5 October 2017
Chrome River has partnered with Salesforce to create Prosper, a tool that combines expense and customer relationship management data to give clients new expense functionality and insight into the return on the business travel investment. Chrome River is piloting the tool, which Chrome River product manager Alex Kim claims is the first of its kind. The company plans to make Prosper available to clients by the end of the year.
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Rising Fares Might Slow Air Travel Demand Growth in 2017's Final Months

Business Travel News (BTN) - 5 October 2017
Global air travel demand grew 7.2 percent year over year in August, pushing the global load factor near record levels for the month, according to the International Air Transport Association. Growth is likely to continue through the end of the year but at a slower pace as "some important demand drivers are easing, particularly lower fares," according to IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de
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NYU Study Projects 2018 Corporate Hotel Rate Increases Will Be More Modest

Business Travel News (BTN) - 5 October 2017
With the 2018 hotel RFP season underway for many in the corporate travel buying community, an analysis from New York University's Bjorn Hanson pegs the expected U.S. corporate rate increase for next year to be in the 2 percent to 3 .5 percent range. Hanson, a clinical professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, said that while hoteliers are still operating from a position of strength, with occupancy lingering at a record 65.5 percent, buyers are gaining ground at the negotiating table for 2018.
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Proske Event Management Company Joins Radius

Business Travel News (BTN) - 4 October 2017
Proske—which focuses on live marketing for meetings and strategic meetings management and has offices in Munich, Frankfurt and Rosenheim, Germany, and in New York City—has joined Radius Travel. It's the first pure event management company to join the network of travel agencies. Proske's client base spans 70 countries.
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MasterCard Launches Fraud Early-Detection Tool for Issuers

Business Travel News (BTN) - 4 October 2017
While it can take between six months or even as long as 18 months for a credit card breach to be detected, it takes nine minutes or less for a criminal to use stolen credit card data, MasterCard SVP of security standards and solutions Bruce Rutherford said. With an increasing number of businesses and smartphones being hacked, MasterCard has launched Early Detection System, which alerts MasterCard commercial and consumer credit card issuers their accounts may have been compromised.
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Paul English on Lola's Debut for Business Travelers Today

Business Travel News (BTN) - 4 October 2017
After working on Lola for the consumer market, Lola founder and CEO Paul English, who was founder and former chief technology officer of Kayak, pivoted this spring to a focus on unmanaged and lightly managed small and midmarket travelers. The hybrid artificial intelligence- and human-powered mobile travel assistant is now tweaked for business travelers and debuts today. Lola is available directly to travelers; those who download the app prior to 2018 will get VIP services free of charge for one year. That includes hands-on human intervention when the need arises. In a conversation with BTN editor-in-chief Elizabeth West, English hinted that developments for midmarket managed travelers are likely around the corner.
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TripActions Pulls In Content from Expedia & Priceline Subsidiaries

Business Travel News (BTN) - 4 October 2017
Customers of corporate travel booking tool TripActions now can access inventory from Expedia and its subsidiary Hotels.com, as well as Priceline subsidiaries Agoda and Booking.com. TripActions already brings in content from Sabre and a limited Priceline inventory, according to TripActions founder and CEO Ariel Cohen. More than half of TripActions bookings come from the consumer booking tool selections, he added.

Promising Q4 Outlook for North American Hotels

Business Travel News (BTN) - 2 October 2017
The outlook for the North American hotel industry is looking up for the fourth quarter, according to TravelClick. Overall bookings for those three months are up 3.8 percent from this same time last year, and average daily rate is up 1 percent. "Over the past 60 days, there has been a noticeable increase in advance reservation pace, lasting well into 2018," said TravelClick senior industry analyst John Hach. "This uptick is welcomed news for hoteliers who have endured inconsistency throughout most of 2017." Fourth-quarter bookings for the business transient segment are up 0.9 percent, and ADR is up 2.3 percent. For the group segment, bookings are up 3.6 percent and ADR is up 2.7 percent. The September North American Hospitality Review looks at group sales commitments and individual reservations in the 25 major North American markets for hotel stays booked by Sept. 1 for September 2017 to August
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Airbnb Bookings Feed into Travel Risk Manager Anvil

Business Travel News (BTN) - 1 October 2017
Airbnb bookings now flow directly into travel risk management provider Anvil's Employee Travel Monitoring System. "Corporate travelers and those booking travel on their behalf are busy people and do not want to be bogged down by excessive form filling and admin," said Anvil head of research and technical development Peter Davies. "By building a direct feed from Airbnb, we are now able to capture these accommodation reservations directly. The Airbnb connection mechanism works in the same way as our direct GDS connections, ensuring a smooth and secure transfer of data."
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Pi Travel Rebrands to PredictX

Business Travel News (BTN) - 29 September 2017
Managed travel has been a laggard in the business intelligence space. Pi has had the advantage of working in other sectors that have complex data, industries like retail and healthcare. That has informed how it supports business travel data analysis. Pi has just changed its name to PredictX. CEO Keesup Choe spoke with BTN editor-in-chief Elizabeth West about the change, what it says about the direction of the company and how that direction is applied to travel analytics.  
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U.S. Hotels Are Projected to Collect $2.7B in Fees & Surcharges in 2017

Business Travel News (BTN) - 25 September 2017
U.S. hotels will collect 5 percent more in fees and surcharges in 2017 than they did the year prior, according to Bjorn Hanson, a clinical professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.
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U.K. Ends Laptop Ban on Most Inbound Flights from Turkey

Business Travel News (BTN) - 25 September 2017
The U.K. has lifted its ban of onboard large electronic devices on inbound international flights for "the vast majority" of carriers operating out of Turkish airports, as well as flights from Tunis, Tunisia. The U.K. government last week lifted the ban for Antalya, Bodrum, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen and Izmir airports in Turkey and Tunis-Carthage International. Earlier in the summer, it lifted the ban on Turkish Airlines and Pegasus flights from both Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen in Istanbul. The original ban included six countries—Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia—and will be lifted at the remaining airports on a case-by-case basis, according to the Department for Transport.
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Trump Claims 'Tailored Approach' in New Travel Ban

Business Travel News (BTN) - 25 September 2017
President Donald Trump has issued a third version of his travel ban, this one targeting seven countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. In an executive order issued Sunday, Trump said those countries had "inadequate" counterterrorism protocols in place, though the restrictions vary from country to country:
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The Biggest Pain in Business Travel

Business Travel News (BTN) - 22 September 2017
It's where you sit. Over the last two weeks of August, AmTrav Corporate Travel surveyed 174 of its travel managers around the world, and 62 percent cited airline seat pitch and legroom as their travelers' top complaint. In a distant second place, preferred vendors taking precedence over convenient vendors was the top complaint heard by 16 percent of travel managers. Only 1 percent reported that a strict meal and entertainment policy ruffled the most feathers. As for what travelers deem a must-have, 56 percent of travel managers called out lodging that's close to the client or meeting, while 28 percent indicated inflight Wi-Fi.
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Uber Can Continue in London Through Appeal

Business Travel News (BTN) - 22 September 2017
London taxi and car-for-hire regulator Transport for London informed Uber for London that its private-hire operator license will not be renewed. The license expires a week from tomorrow, on Sept. 30. However, Uber can appeal by Oct. 13, based on the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, and can continue to operate until the end of the appeals process. "TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility," according to a statement that cited "potential public safety and security implications." Those include reporting serious criminal offenses, how drivers' medical certificates are obtained, driver screening and Uber's explanation of software that might have blocked regulators from performing their duties.

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