Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Biz Travel Down, But Leisure Travel is Strong:
The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) released a report that business travel is slightly down both domestically and internationally, citing global uncertainties and weak company earnings as causes for the lower-than-expected numbers. USTA expects that the trend will continue through the summer months, though there is a bright spot: leisure travel. According to the report: “In contrast, domestic leisure travel increased about 1 point year over year in March to 53.1; the higher-than-50 score is a sign that leisure travel is rising, and USTA expects that to continue through mid-2016.” goo.gl/03DkpU

Positive Outlook for Meetings in 2016:
The latest quarterly Meetings Outlook from Meeting Professionals International found that seven of 10 respondents see “favorable” business conditions through the end of the year. A little more than 43 percent of travelers expect growth in corporate meetings domestically, while 59 percent think meeting budgets will increase through December. Another notable finding was that the majority of travelers expect conference attendance increases. goo.gl/f3R1fq

Travel Satisfaction Tops the ACTE Conference:
When the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) Global Corporate Travel Conference landed in Dallas this April, many issues were discussed. Chief among them were: keeping track of travelers; embracing mobile tools; getting employees to comply with travel policies; utilizing virtual payments; and the sharing economy’s options like Airbnb and Uber. According to the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report: “...one of the major themes was both simpler and more complicated: how to make sure travelers are satisfied. It’s not a new trend—in fact, it’s been talked about for long enough that there’s a buzz phrase, ‘traveler centricity,’ to describe it. But most everyone agreed that taking care of employees was becoming more important than ever.” This does not mean, however, that travelers will have carte blanche to spend frivolously, although their comfort and safety are being given equal consideration. goo.gl/WuKMjN

News of the U

Uber Settles in Mass. and Calif., But Still Awaiting Approval of Courts:
The massive class action lawsuits filed against Uber, which claimed the TNC was misclassifying driver-partners as independent contractors, have been settled in the two states—but it seems to be far from over. Drivers tentatively “won”—pending approval of the courts—$100 million from Uber, which breaks down to $84 million as the initial payout with an additional $16 million should the company go public. In many cases, drivers won’t see much: Some estimates have individual payouts as low as $24, although some drivers could see hundreds or even thousands, with a sweet $25 million going to the legal team. The proposed settlement (at press time) keeps Uber drivers classified as contractors, though U.S. regulators are still reviewing the issue. Furthermore, released court documents show that drivers would be due “an estimated $730 million in expense reimbursements had they been employees,” which could significantly damage the $65 billion company (goo.gl/lLOZRp). The Teamsters union is attempting to capitalize on the settlement by courting California Uber drivers (goo.gl/JGxhA5). Settlement or not, the war is just getting started.

Adios, Austin:
The Texas capital city may be known as a millennial tech paradise, but Uber and Lyft have bid adieu to the city (or, as Uber noted, “pausing” service) over the decision to uphold the regulations on the TNCs, which include fingerprinting. Despite asking for (and getting) the public to weigh in via a ballot proposal, the ordinance—which passed in 2015 by the city council—was overwhelmingly upheld with a 56-44 vote in favor of regulation. Uber alone spent a record $8 million to woo the public, without success. The NLA has also responded to the developments: Secretary Scott Solombrino of Dav El/BostonCoach lauded Austin’s “common-sense regulation” to require fingerprinting of TNC drivers. While the rules stand for now, we’ve seen this before in San Antonio where a fingerprinting requirement was made voluntary after both companies suspended operations in the city. Will Austin cower to the behemoths? We’ll have to wait and see. goo.gl/RcLfIK [CD0516]



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