On Tuesday, British Airways began testing new inventory buckets in business and economy classes on Boston and Dubai routes, some of which only are available for purchase through the airline's direct channels or New Distribution Capability-compatible connections.
Expedia Group-owned travel management company Egencia is finalizing a direct-to-hotel communications system that enables client travelers to chat with hotel property representatives through the Egencia mobile app. Tapping in to established technologies and supplier relationships of its parent company, Egencia plans soon to give managed travelers a unique conduit to pose questions, make special requests, heap praise or lodge complaints related to their hotel stays.
U.K.-based Business Travel Direct has become the first travel management company to participate in Traxo Marketplace, which integrates travel data aggregator Traxo with other service providers to manage off-channel bookings.
Cornerstone Information Systems has acquired Topaz International, a corporate travel auditing and benchmarking firm that works directly with travel buyers.
Instead of creating standalone portals for airlines to support business booking and rewards, NuTravel's Universal Connect product lets carriers deliver business program perks and travel management features—from preferred rates to policy—through their consumer dotcom sites.
Business travel entrant Upside last week revealed in a mobile app update that Southwest Airlines bookings "are now available for work travel." Southwest's testing with Upside is "very early days," said Dave Harvey, the carrier's managing director of business development.
Effective Oct. 9, Lufthansa Group will remove its Light brand of economy fares and Business Saver business class fares entirely from the three major global distribution systems in the German market.
BCD Travel early next year plans to pilot New Distribution Capability bookings with Lufthansa Group and two undisclosed non-global distribution system aggregators.
Ever since it launched, Jay Walker's business travel startup Upside has gone directly after the end-user business traveler. More recently, the company has added a few tools and perks for the employer, including employee onboarding support, reports on spending and a cashback rewards program for participating companies.