Lufthansa adds workspace reservations to flights as part of Biz Travel Push renewal

Skift grip

For an airline that not so long ago shifted away from business travel, two new partnerships suggest it’s thinking twice about the decision.

Matthew Parson

German airline Lufthansa has added two new partnerships to capitalize on the surprisingly rapid recovery in business travel.

The airline launched Lufthansa Global Spaces on Wednesday to allow passengers to book desks, offices and conference rooms. The platform integrates with its Miles & More loyalty program so members can earn extra points.

And with its eye firmly set on seamless travel, the Lufthansa Group on Wednesday also launched another solution called BusinessToGo, in partnership with corporate travel agency startup TripActions. This platform was designed for small and medium-sized businesses and includes access to accommodation, train and car rental content, as well as flights.

In the spring of last year, Lufthansa took steps to target leisure travelers more. In April 2021, it took a number of steps to accommodate fewer lucrative business travelers and retired long-haul aircraft with large business and first-class cabins.

What a difference a year makes, and these last two partnerships suggest he’s thinking twice about that decision.

However, the new workspace platform, which was developed by Lufthansa Innovation Hub, the Lufthansa Group‘s digital innovation unit, and the Hubli booking system will initially only be available for three months to test the waters. And only five cities – Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, ​​Singapore and New York – will be available initially.

It’s also not the first airline to try its hand at combining flights with workspaces. In October 2020, as the pandemic took hold, United Airlines entered into an agreement with meeting space and events aggregator Peerspace to offer packages to companies wishing to bring employees together away from the office.

United did not comment on how it would fare for Skift, but in March Peerspace said corporate demand for meeting spaces had risen from 2020 lows, and it predicted 300% growth in bookings. compared to the same period in 2020, and 1,300 percent growth compared to the second quarter of 2020. He was also working on a new “Peerspace for Business” solution. “United will likely play a role in this, as will several other large companies,” a spokesperson said.

But like United, Lufthansa has noted the rapidly changing nature of post-Covid work trends.

“Traditional business travel has declined significantly since the start of the Covid pandemic. At the same time, we have seen more and more how the work and vacation categories are becoming blurred,” said Christine Wang, Managing Director of Lufthansa Innovation Hub. “Travelers today are often away for longer periods of time and sometimes work remotely. We believe this trend will only continue.

If successful, a global rollout is planned. Hubli, which also powers American Express Global Business Travel’s Workspaces platform, has a global network of 185,000 spaces worldwide.

Small means big business

With its new TripActions platform, the Lufthansa Group will provide access to so-called new distribution capacity offers, which may be exclusive or incur additional costs when booked on global distribution systems. In addition to flights, it will provide accommodation, train and car rental content, and wants to attract more companies that do not have a “managed” corporate travel program.

Like the workspace project, this new all-in-one business travel platform, which is part of the Lufthansa Group’s PartnerPlusBenefit program, is progressing slowly since it is currently only available. in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.

The BusinessToGo platform will offer program standards such as policy and profile management, emissions reporting and centralized billing, but will have two tiers, Essentials and Premium, the latter including a fee for businesses that want a “enhanced integration” and platform configuration assistance.

This is the first launch of a “completely new booking and service platform” in more than a decade, according to Tamur Goudarzi Pour, senior vice president of channel management at Lufthansa Group Network Airlines and director commercial at Swiss.

The platform will be deployed successively in other markets.

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