What Matters Now in Corporate Travel 2012: Part I

Happy New Year, business travel pros!

In this two-part blog, I'll take a look at the travel management issues I identified last year as having a critical effect on the industry (part one); then we'll turn the lens on 2012 (part two) to see how times have changed since then.

From 2011: Airline Consolidation Hits Home – I stand by my well-researched position for 2011 that consolidation among major air carriers would bring higher fares for business travel, both domestic and international. Few in the industry had the foresight to predict that financially embattled AMR (parent company of American Airlines) would file for bankruptcy in the face of fiercer competition and less-than-optimum operating costs. Will 2012 bring more than rumors of a tie-up between US Airways and American as it begins the process of exiting bankruptcy? We'll have to wait and see.

From 2011: Hotel Rates Skyrocket in Key Markets – Another position supported by plenty of market research and predictions from the experts: New York, San Francisco and other key business markets saw occupancy and average daily rates increase significantly. Did they achieve the 20 percent ADR increases projected? Some did. San Francisco consistently posted more than 19 percent increases in ADR for last several months of the year, according to Smith Travel Research. Nashville (a surprise to me) saw ADR increases above 20 percent, though rates were still fairly moderate in that city overall.

From 2011: Book It – Smart Phone Tech Evolves – The race to offer managed air bookings via smart phone heated up this year with two separate strategies emerging in the market. The first to hit the market was an HTML 5 mobile website from Orbitz for Business and the second was a native mobile application from Concur. Travel managers with savvy smartphone users should not waste time in finding out more about these capabilities and how they can assist travelers, especially when contending with a travel disruption. Keeping travelers equipped with the right technology has the potential to boost in-policy behaviors and enhance data accuracy.

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