Corporate Travel Agencies Build for a More Complex Future

Kent Wien  / Flickr

A gate at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Travel management companies are ramping up their technology efforts, but there’s still a long way to go before a larger transformation sweeps across the industry. Kent Wien / Flickr

Skift Take: Even big travel management companies, which usually resist change, are planning ahead to better anticipate traveler and travel manager needs. No one’s quite sure when this more connected and insightful future will arrive, though.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Ryan Wolkov

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Meeting Planners Face a Daunting Challenge in Rising Food and Beverage Costs

allthingsopen  / Flickr

Meetings and events generate tax dollars and spending for destination cities. International travelers tend to spend the most, although they still make up just a fraction of those who attend events in the U.S. allthingsopen / Flickr

Skift Take: Spending as a result of U.S. meetings and events has steadily increased since 2009, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, according to new research. Spending on food and beverage likewise isn’t easing up at all.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Ryan Wolkov

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United Reboots Its Polaris Business Class With a Focus on Consistency

United Airlines

United Airlines has opened only two Polaris lounges. Shown here is the Chicago lounge. The company has not managed customer expectations well. United Airlines

Skift Take: United Airlines overpromised with its Polaris business class. Instead of rethinking business class, it should have focused on providing a simple and consistent product.

— Brian Sumers

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Ryan Wolkov

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Getting Hotels and Meeting Planners to Play Nice With One Another

Carlee Wright  / Flickr

Attendees at TedxSalem in January 2018. New technology will make it easier for both hotels and planners to work together. Carlee Wright / Flickr

Skift Take: Dated hotel distribution technology is holding back both meeting planners and hotel revenue managers. As new platforms and tools emerge, it will be interesting to see which major chains end up developing the most forward-looking attitudes toward selling event space in new ways.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Ryan Wolkov

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South Africa Tourism CEO Sees Water Crisis Changing the City Forever

Brent Newhall  / Flickr

Cape Town, pictured here, is still promoting tourism as it suffers from its worst drought on record. Brent Newhall / Flickr

Skift Take: South Africa tourism officials argue that the water crisis will change travelers’ behavior, and that tourism revenue can reduce the severity of the crisis. Still, drought and climate change is a global problem that needs to be addressed on the international stage.

— Dan Peltier

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Ryan Wolkov

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Australia Wants to Help Bankroll Trump’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Mack Male  / Flickr

New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Dec. 13, 2013. Funding for President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan is still uncertain. Mack Male / Flickr

Skift Take: Trump is determined to push much of the infrastructure funding responsibility off the federal government. Since when are roads, bridges, and airports no longer public assets?

— Sarah Enelow

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Google May Beat Competitors in Mapping Again, This Time for Driverless Cars

Bloomberg

Google headquarters in New York. On any given day, there could be a half dozen autonomous cars mapping the same street corner in Silicon Valley. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Competitors are right to worry about Google’s mapping advantage. For years now, Google Maps has been an unmatched trip-planning tool; some destinations that Google hasn’t mapped really suffer.

— Sarah Enelow

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Hong Kong Disney Is Losing Chinese Tourists as Macau Surges

Scott Cresswell  / Flickr

The number of visitors from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong Disneyland dropped in the last fiscal year. This photo from 2012 shows the castle at the theme park. Scott Cresswell / Flickr

Skift Take: Hong Kong Disneyland is facing greater competition both from Macau, which is improving its family offerings, and from Shanghai Disney Resort. Disney and the Hong Kong government are spending $1.4 billion on an expansion to the theme park, which should attract more visitors.

— Hannah Sampson

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AccorHotels Wants to Accelerate Its Buying Spree in 2018

AccorHotels

The Mercure London Bridge hotel in the United Kingdom. AccorHotels

Skift Take: AccorHotels’ acquisitions over the last couple of years aren’t money makers yet but that’s not to say they never will be. CEO Sébastien Bazin is still intent on playing a very different game than the other big hotel companies.

— Patrick Whyte

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