Episodes
Published 02/16/24
Episode Notes Wyndham executives say the company’s efforts to fend off Choice Hotels’ hostile bid weighted on its results in the fourth quarter, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill. Wyndham CEO Geoff Ballotti said its fourth quarter could have been better without the distractions from Choice Hotels’ merger proposal. The company’s revenue and income in 2023 both fell from the previous year, which may have been a result of Wyndham devoting resources to prevent the hostile...
Published 02/16/24
Episode Notes Marriott and Hilton have both released their annual financial reports for 2023. Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill lists 12 noteworthy takeaways after comparing the companies’ 10-K filings.  The two hotel giants have a rivalry in terms of loyalty program membership numbers. Marriott currently has roughly 16 million more loyalty program members than Hilton. But O’Neill notes Hilton could overtake Marriott in 2025 if the two companies maintain their most recent growth rates...
Published 02/15/24
Episode Notes Some analysts had wondered if Airbnb could increase its supply of hosts and listings to meet the growing demand from travelers worldwide. That question has been put to rest, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.  Airbnb said during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Tuesday it has around 7.7 million active listings. That’s an increase of more than 1 million from the end of 2022. The company ended 2023 with a roster of more than 5 million hosts, also a jump of roughly 1 million...
Published 02/14/24
Episode Notes The Bahamas saw a drop in short-term rental bookings and hotel reservations in January after a U.S. State Department safety alert to travelers, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. Habtemariam notes short-term rental bookings fell 7% in January from the same month in 2023. Meanwhile, hotels in the Bahamas also registered weekly occupancy declines from last year throughout the month. While higher average daily rates may have deterred bookings, those drops followed a...
Published 02/13/24
Episode Notes Expedia Group will have a new CEO soon. Ariane Gorin, currently president of Expedia for Business, will succeed Peter Kern starting on May 13, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.   Schaal reports Gorin will also take a seat on Expedia Group’s expanded board of directors, effective February 12. Expedia Group Chair Barry Diller said the company was looking for an internal candidate to succeed Kern. As president of Expedia for Business, the company’s business-to-business arm,...
Published 02/09/24
Episode Notes Taylor Swift’s massive influence on U.S. culture and the economy isn’t slowing down anytime soon. And as her ongoing Eras Tour continues to pack stadiums and boost tourism worldwide, Editor-in-Chief Sarah Kopit explains why Swift might be the most powerful person in travel. Swift’s impact on the travel sector is vast, with major influence over tourism dollars, hospitality spending and the short-term rental market. Kopit notes that each Swift concert has the economic impact of...
Published 02/08/24
Episode Notes A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board has provided information about what possibly caused the January blowout aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 1282. Four bolts appeared to be missing on a door plug that blew off that Boeing 737 Max 9 jet, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi.  Maharishi notes it’s not exactly clear how the four bolts meant to keep the door plug intact went missing. The board said it plans to interview Boeing and aircraft supplier...
Published 02/07/24
Episode Notes Nearly 94% of 737 Boeing Max 9s are back in service after the aircraft was grounded for roughly three weeks in January, writes Airlines Reporter Meghan Maharishi.  The Federal Aviation Administration said that 135 Max 9s have been inspected and returned to service following a blowout aboard an Alaska Airlines flight in early January. The grounding of the Max 9 forced United Airlines and Alaska — the only two U.S. carriers operating the aircraft — to cancel thousands of flights...
Published 02/06/24
Episode Notes Skift Research has published its Global Travel Outlook 2024, which sees Asia leading the travel industry’s growth while Europe’s travel boom will likely slow down. The forecast shows Asia Pacific growing 20% over 2023. Research Analyst Saniya Zanpure writes the region has gotten a big boost from China easing its strict Covid-era regulations in January 2023. Meanwhile, Europe’s travel revenue is projected to register only a 5% increase from last year, with Zanpure noting that...
Published 02/02/24
Episode Notes Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun issued an apology for the recent Alaska Airlines blowout amid the reeling planemaker’s struggles with its 737 Max 9 aircraft, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi.  Calhoun said during Boeing’s fourth-quarter earnings call that the company has a lot of work to do to earn the public’s trust back. While Calhoun didn’t speculate on what possibly caused the blowout, he acknowledged Boeing was responsible. The 737 Max has been plagued with problems in...
Published 02/01/24
Episode Notes JetBlue Airways is focusing on how it can be profitable following its failed merger with Spirit Airlines. So JetBlue is looking at ways to cut costs and offer more leisure routes, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. JetBlue is grappling with rising costs due to new labor contracts and also has engine issues that have currently grounded seven aircraft. JetBlue Chief Financial Officer Ursula Hurley said the company would offer crew members voluntary buyouts to help offset...
Published 01/31/24
Episode Notes Fans heading to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl on February 11 will likely pay the highest hotel room rates in the event’s history, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.  The average daily rate for a Las Vegas hotel room between February 9 and 11 is projected to be $573, according to industry data company STR. That figure would break the record set in Miami four years ago. Habtemariam reports that visitors coming for the Super Bowl are expected to book about 350,000...
Published 01/30/24
Episode Notes Alaska Airlines said it would take a $150 million financial hit from the Boeing 737 Max 9 grounding that prompted the airline to cancel roughly 3,000 flights, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi.  Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said during its fourth-quarter earnings call that the company would put pressure on Boeing to produce better planes. Minicucci told NBC News this week he was angry at Boeing for the blowout aboard an Alaska flight earlier this month. He did express...
Published 01/26/24
Episode Notes Los Angeles is launching its largest-ever global advertising campaign to help remain competitive in the fight to attract tourists, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. Habtemariam reports the city will unveil next week the latest iteration of its “Now Playing” campaign, which has showcased Los Angeles’ arts, food and lifestyle. The multi-million dollar campaign will target the UK, France and South Korea, among other markets. LA Tourism CEO Adam Burke said the city...
Published 01/25/24
Episode Notes United Airlines is taking another look at its fleet plan due to delivery delays with the Boeing 737 Max 10, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. The Max 10 hasn’t been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration yet. And given the Max 9 groundings, United executives said during the airline’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Tuesday that it’s unrealistic to expect deliveries will be on time. Maharishi notes United is focused on the Airbus A350.  Meanwhile, United posted...
Published 01/24/24
Episode Notes Global hotel dealmaking is expected to make a major rebound in 2024 thanks to a more positive financing environment, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.  At least $58 billion in hotel deals are set to take place this year, according to investment advisory firm JLL Hotels & Hospitality. That would surpass 2023’s total by at least 15%. JLL believes one reason for the increased dealmaking is that struggling hotel owners are looking for buyers to take problem...
Published 01/23/24
Episode Notes The travel industry has gone from deep struggles during Covid to a major boom, with the high demand for “revenge travel.” So what’s in store for travel in 2024? Skift Research believes the industry will return to normal, writes Head of Research Seth Borko. Skift Research said in its newly published 2024 Global Travel Outlook that revenue growth for the travel industry will likely decelerate. However, Borko writes the slowdown isn’t a sign of weakness. He adds that economic...
Published 01/19/24
Episode Notes A federal judge blocked the proposed JetBlue-Spirit merger, putting an end to the two airlines’ attempt to create the fifth-largest carrier in the U.S. Why did JetBlue pursue a merger with Spirit Airlines? One key reason is Florida, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi and Jay Shabat, senior analyst for Skift’s Airline Weekly.  While Florida is a major market for JetBlue, the New York-based airline doesn’t have much pricing power for those flights. Maharishi and Shabat note...
Published 01/18/24
Episode Notes A U.S. District Court judge blocked the proposed $3.8 billion merger between JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, the first time in 20 years Washington has rejected an airline merger, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. Maharishi reports the ruling represents a victory for the Biden administration, which has supported more competition in the airline industry. Four airlines control 80% of the U.S. market following a series of mergers the U.S. government has approved in the...
Published 01/17/24
Episode Notes Tripadvisor plans to release a metaverse experience later this year that would provide travelers the chance to virtually see popular attractions before booking, writes Travel Technology Justin Dawes.  Tripadvisor has signed a contract with Meet Kai, a company that creates metaverse and artificial intelligence products. Dawes reports it’s still too early for Tripadvisor to share specifics on exactly how the metaverse experience will look, but the company looks to partner with...
Published 01/12/24
Episode Notes The recent blowout aboard an Alaska Airlines flight is far the only problem that Boeing has experienced with its 737 Max aircraft. Associate Editor Rashaad Jorden takes a look at some of those issues using our artificial intelligence chatbot Ask Skift and additional reporting.  The 737 Max was grounded globally for 20 months following fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 in Ethiopia and Indonesia. But even after being recertified by the Federal Aviation Administration in November...
Published 01/11/24
Episode Notes Skift has revealed its Megatrends for 2024, the 12th edition of its annual forecast of big-picture trends poised to shape the year in travel. The 12 megatrends delve into a wide range of topics: The impact on travel of demographic shifts, how the industry will react to the rise in loneliness. What we see developing out of India and the Middle East. Where you’ll see investments in hotels, aviation and how AI will impact travel jobs.  Next, federal officials investigating the...
Published 01/10/24
Episode Notes Choice Hotels has long relied on traditional broadcast and outdoor billboard advertising to drum up brand awareness. But the company is turning to streaming platforms including Spotify and using a touch of celebrity in its new year-long marketing campaign, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.  Choice Hotels is experimenting with digital-video ads and podcast placements, which are cheaper than traditional TV sports, to better target demographic groups. The company will...
Published 01/09/24
Episode Notes A trip to Paris is getting more expensive this year. Visitors to the French capital have been hit with higher tourist taxes as the city prepares to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. Habtemariam reports that tourist taxes on stays in Paris have more than doubled. In addition, some tour operators have seen their room rates surge due to the Olympics. An executive at Kensington Tours said it’s seen year-over-year increases of at least...
Published 01/05/24