Ovation Travel Group has acquired London-based travel agency Chartwell Travel for an undisclosed sum, representing Ovation's first wholly owned location outside the U.S., the company announced Monday.
Ovation Corporate Travel launched a new sales program and service offering to handle VIP travelers for accounts served by other travel management companies.
Priceline founder Jay Walker's travel startup Upside serves the unmanaged travel segment. The company sells travel packages and positions a rewards scheme directly to end users. It is intended for neither the enterprise nor the managed travel segment—not yet.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel plans to introduce full airline shopping and booking capabilities within its CWT To Go app later this year. BCD Travel, too, confirmed mobile "air booking in TripSource is in development." Those megas are among several travel management companies evolving their mobile wares to include further booking capabilities. If the first generation of TMC apps were informational and focused on itinerary management, the next is increasingly transactional.
In a memo to Concur's preferred travel management company partners last week, EVP of supplier and TMC services Mike Koetting called small businesses the industry's "white whale." With its new Concur Hipmunk product for unmanaged travel, Concur has sharpened its harpoon and joined plenty of would-be Captain Ahabs.
More than half a dozen travel management companies have certified under the European Union-U.S. Privacy Shield framework since the program went live last summer.
Ovation Travel Group now has about 100 travelers participating in what executive vice president Michael Steiner described as an "uber-VIP service" that essentially puts one of the company's top agents on call 24/7 for participating travelers.
Ovation Corporate Travel during the first quarter joined the BCD Affiliates network after several years as part of Radius. In doing so, Ovation retained business with a key multinational client that had been using the global network, investment firm BlackRock.
Based in the Union Square area of Manhattan, Ovation Corporate Travel was hit particularly hard by "Superstorm Sandy." All told, executives said they were relatively pleased with how well they had planned for such an event. Yet, there were lessons learned.