Business Trip or Vacation? Travel Start-Ups Try to Blur the Line

Planning a vacation? Chances are you’ll think about it differently than you do that business trip you’re also arranging.

A new breed of start-ups that caters to corporate travelers and focuses on user behavior are making business travelers more cost conscious. The premise behind these companies, including Rocketrip, TripActions and Upside, is that if business travelers were rewarded for making choices that save their companies money, they would act accordingly.

Upside officially started in January, and more than 10,000 companies in the United States are already using it to book employee travel, according to its founder, Jay Walker. TripActions, which began offering its services in 2015, does not disclose its user figures but has attracted companies like Survey Monkey and eHarmony, said its founder and chief executive, Ariel Cohen. Rocketrip, which has been around since 2013, is the preferred booking tool of General Electric, Twitter and 50 to 100 other Fortune 100 and midsize businesses, Dan Ruch, its founder and chief executive, said.

People are naturally drawn to comfort, Dan Ruch said, meaning that unless they know they will be rewarded for cutting corners, they will indulge their inclination to make business travel as cushy, and as expensive, as possible.

See more from the NY Times here.

New Research Shows Millennial Travel Spending Follows Traditional Patterns

New research from Concur, the expense management company, shows millennial purchasing patterns when it comes to business travel aren’t as different from those of senior colleagues as you might have expected.

Research showed millennials spend 18% less than employees aged 36-65 on dining and entertainment, about $44 per transaction compared to $52; 19% less on dining at $33 per meal when traveling, while colleagues between ages 36-65 spend $39; and 3% more on hotel-related expenses (room, parking, WiFi, room service) than older colleagues ($114 per transaction compared to $111).

Some of the numbers suggest that the industry in which the traveler works influences spending more than the employee’s age.

See more on this from Business Travel Executive here.

The 5 Best Airports For Layovers

Although the idea of a layover is awful to most business travelers, spending time between flights at one of these airports may not be so bad! The top airports were based on SleepingInAirports survey results from international travelers.

Tampa International Airport (TPA)

A streamlined travel experience puts Tampa International Airport at the top of the best airports for layover list in the U.S.

Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN)

 In addition to a free tour of the city, the airport offers a free movie theater, massage chairs, fish spa pedicures, multiple gardens, napping rooms, a swimming pool, and showers.

Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)

An indoor ice-skating rink, movie theater, and cultural center help propel this South Korean airport to the front of the best airports for layovers list.

Munich International Airport (MUC)

Germany makes the best airports for layovers list with Munich International Airport, a well-designed, entertainment-packed airport that doubles as a major hub for travelers heading to Europe.

Zurich Kloten International Airport (ZRH)

Supreme efficiency, cleanliness, and organization helped Switzerland’s Zurich Kloten International Airport make the best airports for layovers list.

See more from Huffpost on this lineup here.

These 10 tips will make the skies much more friendly on your next trip

The flier has flown more than 2 million miles. Here’s what he learned about getting perks, saving time and saving sanity.

1. Make friends with the gate agent

2. Pick an airline and stick with it

3. Take the status challenge

4. Know your airline’s rules about hidden fees — and perks

5. Pay for as much as possible with your airline’s credit card

6. Download the airline’s app

7. Sign up for text notifications for your flight

8. Watch the weather

9. Don’t check luggage

10. For critical trips, book earlier flights

See more on Entrepreneur.com here

How Delta Is Using Personalization to Enhance the Business Travel Experience

In recent years, airlines have been steadily focused on improving the customer experience while in the air, offering Wi-Fi and power available during flight, better and often locally procured food, craft beer, and enhanced drink offerings, robust entertainment options, and even more comfortable seating.

No matter how sophisticated, the onboard experience will never be able to replace personalized human interactions that only people on the front lines can offer. Travel providers, like Delta, are quickly learning that bringing a personal touch to the guest experience can be valuable when it comes to building customer loyalty and gaining an edge over their competitors.

Delta Air Lines has kept pace with the industry’s focus on the product elements. At the same time, the company has also worked hard to treat its travelers as individuals and not lose sight of the human touch. Delta is striving to bring humanity back to air travel with its Check-In Recognition program and with the recent launch of the new Onboard Recognition program—both available to companies with a Corporate Sales Agreement. Adding a personal touch to engage their corporate customers who fly with them for business travel is at the core of these recognition programs.

See more from Skift.

Airbnb Introduces New Tool for Business Travelers

Airbnb is rolling out a new search tool for business travelers. They believe they can also be a viable alternative to traditional hotels for business travelers. They recently rolled out a new search function designed specifically for road warriors.

The new feature sifts through listings to highlight the ones that have been deemed Business Travel Ready (BTR). BTR homes and apartments are defined by having a workspace or desk, Wi-Fi and 24-hour check-in among other amenities. BTR properties will also include entire homes so that business travelers can have space entirely to themselves or share it with their team.

See more at Travel Pulse.

Airbnb Introduces New Tool for Business Travelers

 

Extending a Business Trip for Fun is Becoming Increasingly Popular

The practice of adding a few days of pleasure to a work trip is becoming increasingly popular. The Global Business Travel Association was the latest to research this trend. Its survey of North American business travelers found that 37% had extended a work trip to include some leisure within the past year. This, typically, might mean stretching a break in a city into the weekend, possibly shipping in the family to join the fun. Often, such travelers will stay in the same hotel for the duration, making up the extra cost themselves.

Should companies embrace the idea of “bleisure”? Maybe so! It might save some money. Extending a stay can mean that an expensive Friday morning flight is substituted for a cheaper weekend one, or a cheaper day-rate on a longer hotel booking can be negotiated. At its best, it might help keep employees’ enthusiasm for a life on the road kindled.

See more from The Economist here.

New App Rewards Business Travelers

A new app could reward you for making cheaper purchases all while giving you control over your travel budget. TravelBank estimates trip cost based on travel dates, destinations, current market prices and company travel policies.

Once the employee has their travel budget, they can visualize it on their device and customize their business trip by choosing to splurge or save on certain expenses like flights, hotels, ground transportation and food.

TravelBank encourages road warriors to stay under budget by having their company split the savings with them in the form of credits. For example, if a user’s trip comes in $500 under budget, they’ll receive $250 in credit to use with TravelBank partners like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

See more from Travel Pulse here.

New App Empowers, Rewards Business Travelers

Facial Recognition Technology Rolling Out

Airlines such as Delta and Emirates are introducing facial recognition technology. In May, Delta announced the launch of its new, self-service bag drop powered by facial recognition technology, the first of its kind at U.S. airports.

Rather than handing over your luggage to a Delta agent, you’ll check it in yourself — as a computer scans your face to confirm that you are who you say you are.

The pilot program will begin at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this summer. The airline spent $600,000 on its four new self-service stations, one of which uses facial recognition technology to match customers with their passport photos.

See more from CBS News here.