We know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all the industry news, so we’re hoping to make that task easier for you. Every so often here in the Atlas forum, we’ll be featuring a roundup of useful news items that we carefully have chosen for business travelers, travel managers and those involved in the company’s travel program.
Today, we’re looking at Lyft and Uber’s subscription services, millennials’ influence on hotels, the safety concerns of female travelers and shorter customs lines in UK airports.
Netflix model meets ridesharing
The success of subscription-based services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify has inspired some ridesharing firms to test out a similar model.
Lyft, which has been experimenting with a monthly subscription service for the past year, now has rolled out its All-Access Plan on a national level. For $299 a month, riders get 30 rides costing up to $15 each. Passengers will have to pay the difference when a ride runs over $15.
Not to be outdone by its competitor, Uber unveiled its own subscription plan called Ride Pass. It follows a quite different model with customers paying $14.99 monthly (or $24.99 in Los Angeles) to avoid the surge-pricing fees based on demand and other circumstances. As of this writing, the service is available in Los Angeles, Austin, Orlando, Denver and Miami.
Why should you care: These plans could be a good fit for business travelers who regularly pull up the apps to find a ride from the airport to hotel and meeting to meeting, but companies will need to analyze their own ground transportation spend and most frequent destinations to see if either plan is a compatible match.
Makeover for millennials
As Travel Weekly reported, hotel brands are working to revamp their rooms, public spaces and marketing strategies to appeal to millennial business travelers.
For instance, because Gen Y-ers are known to be a health-conscious bunch, Hilton has been promoting its Five Feet to Fitness room concept, which offers in-room fitness equipment, as well as a room delivery service that specializes in healthy grab-and-go options through its New Business Traveler initiative.
Meanwhile, to promote work-life balance, a core value of many millennials, guest rooms at Crowne Plaza have been transformed to include “distinct zones” for working and relaxing as well as free Wi-Fi, multiple USB outlets and power outlets. Lobby areas also have undergone a makeover at Crowne Plaza properties, featuring collaborative workplaces that suit the way many millennials work.
Why should you care: With millennials now comprising a third of the workforce, corporate travel programs must be revised to meet the needs of this demographic. As our very own Wes Bergstrom, vice president for hotel value and revenue management at American Express Global Business Travel, told Travel Weekly, “The behaviors and priorities of today’s modern business traveler are evolving. They are looking for work-life balance. Because of these shifts, companies are beginning to adapt their travel policies to enable both personal and professional growth.”
Safety a priority for female travelers
According to new research from the Global Business Travel Association in partnership with AIG Travel, more than 8 in 10 women say they have experienced one or more safety-related issues while traveling for business in the past year. And a whopping 86 percent say their concerns have influenced their booking behaviors (e.g., reserving only daytime flights and staying in a centrally located hotel).
Why should you care: With 68 percent of respondents stating that their companies should have policies that specifically address the needs of female travelers but only 18 percent of companies having such policies in place (according to survey results), organizations need to consider how they can do a better job of preparing women for the potential risks they face abroad. For articles that get you thinking along these lines, click here and here.
New queue rules
According to Bloomberg News, travelers from the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are being granted a new privilege when entering the United Kingdom — to skip the long customs lines that non-UK residents typically endure. Citizens from these five countries now will be able to use electronic passport gates at UK airports that were previously reserved for European citizens.
Why should you care: The move significantly can reduce the time it will take travelers from the above-mentioned countries to clear customs. So be sure to spread the word to affected travelers so they queue up in the faster lane during their next business trip!