When it comes to travel, the theme of 2015 is all about shifting loyalty. Delta and United are both switching to revenue-based frequent flyer programs, meaning you’ll now earn miles based on the price of your ticket rather than based on the flight distance. Starting in February of 2015, we’ll see the elite status ‘cliff' and we will also see more people fall off because of the requirements that are going to be put in place. Here are four key trends to watch for:
Every business traveler knows the routine: land at the airport, get into a rental car and spend the night at the same sort of hotel room you’ve walked into a thousand times before.
But what if a business trip could be as unique and personal to you as your friends, your hobbies, your family—and everything else in your life? Will the future bring us personalized hotel room amenities, or a choice of rental car catered to the customer's lifestyle, whether eco-friendly or luxurious?
In other words, can your business trip reflect who you are a person?
Hotel executive Katherine Melchior Ray knows how to stay stylish on the fly.
Although Katherine Melchior Ray, the vice president of luxury brands at Hyatt Hotels, is on the road at least twice a month, she never forgets to pack a touch of home. “I bring my own coffee mug. That way, I don’t feel like I’m in a hotel, especially if I’m in bed and the sun’s coming in.”
These days, competition is heating up in the hotel industry. The big chains are not only competing against each other, but they’re also competing against online travel agencies and startups like Rocketmiles and Hotelied for your business. When you book through the hotel directly, it’ll give you points, whereas reserving through online travel agencies generally disqualifies your stay from earning valuable hotel points and possibly even getting your elite status. So if you want those points, book directly with the hotel—especially during the busy fall travel season when many brands offer lucrative promotions.
Here are the major hotel chains and their promotion details. You should always double check and make sure that the hotel you want to book isn’t listed as an exclusion—a lot of hotels opt out of these promotions because they get charges for the extra points. You may also want to plan your stays around the days where you’ll earn the most points.
What do some of the most experienced travelers think of life on the road? T+L and Fortune surveyed them to find out. Readers of both magazines offered insights into the best—and worst—parts of business travel.
Travel Habits Besides work, here's what business travelers have done while on the road:
• 71% snuck in sightseeing between meetings • 71% only bring a carry-on bag • 68% said they maintained their regular exercise and eating habits • 54% have extended a work trip for leisure • 40% ordered room service • 28% say scrutiny of expense reports has increased from five years ago • 23% have not removed liquids from their bag at security • 7% got "creative" with their expense report
Katy Tur, a correspondent for NBC News, shares her business travel tips, from how to she survives red-eyes to her favorite airport terminal.
Q: How often do you travel?
A: I'm gone at least a full four months of the year. In the news business, it's feast or famine. A slow cycle can keep you home for weeks. Then suddenly, something bubbles up and you're gone for months. In March, I packed for a week in London. It turned into a seven-week journey that took me to Italy, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Australia.
It's easier than ever to stay connected in the air. Early next year, Gogo—offered on nine North American carriers, including Alaska, American/US Airways, United, and Delta—will increase bandwidth to a whopping 70-plus megabits per second (mbps) on 800 planes. It's the difference between surfing the Web and streaming an HD movie. Also on tap: an app for texting in flight. JetBlue has launched Fly-Fi, a proprietary 20-plus-mbps service (free; $9 per hour for streaming video) on part of its fleet; all A320's will be equipped by early 2015. On the international front, OnAir is available on airlines ranging from All Nippon to Etihad; Singapore Airlines is the latest to sign on, with Wi-Fi on its A340's, A380's, and Boeing 777-300ER's ($10 for 10 MB, or $12 per hour). British Airways recently joined up with Inmarsat, which plans to roll out Europe's first ground-based (as opposed to satellite) 4G broadband network by the end of 2016. Speeds will be in excess of 70 mbps.