Daily Podcast: Business Travelers are Ready to Travel

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, April 11, in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses a survey of eager business travelers, why European airlines are looking to rail to improve multi-modal transport, and Certares’ travel startup investment strategy.

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Episode Notes

Air-rail connections, which include a flight and train trip on a single booking, are far from a new concept. But as the travel industry vows to cut carbon emissions, those multimodal trips are drawing renewed interest from both airlines and European authorities, writes Airlines Reporter Edward Russell.

Flag carriers in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain have partnered with railway operators to sell tickets for air-rail trips. An Air France executive said his airline sees a greater appetite among its customers to travel by train instead of by plane, which he attributed to travelers’ growing desire for low carbon modes of transportation.

While air-rail partnerships have existed since the 1980s, Russell writes airlines now believe alliances with railway companies will enable them to operate fewer carbon-intensive short-haul flights, thus cutting emissions. Major carriers had previously viewed rail partnerships mainly as a way to free up valuable slots at their hub airports for more lucrative routes.

We turn next to private equity firm Certares. The New York-based company has invested heavily in recent years in travel companies such as airline group Latam and Hertz, but now, it’s begun to dabble in venture investing in startups, writes Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill.

Chantal Noble Haldorsen, who leads Certares’ venture lead strategy, said the firm is mainly looking at startups in North America and Europe, adding that it’s focused on companies it believes have a good product-market fit. While Haldorsen said Certares is open to investing in startups in a wide range of fields, she sees enormous potential in areas such as secondary ticket platforms and financial technology companies. The travel industry will be keeping a close eye on these investments.

We end today with encouraging news for the events industry. A new survey reveals that business travelers, many of whom are still not on the road as often as they were prior to the pandemic, are eager to take trips for in-person events in the near future, writes Andrea Doyle, Senior Editor for EventMB, a Skift brand.

The U.S. Travel Association found in its survey of more than 2,500 business travelers that 84 percent of respondents plan to take at least one trip to attend a conference, convention or trade show in the next six months. In addition, roughly a quarter of business travelers surveyed said they plan to take more trips to events than they did pre-Covid while 43 percent plan to travel the same amount.

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