What to Know Now

Unlike the majority of my hotel visits, I still remember the first time I stayed in a Kimpton hotel. It was at the Hotel Monico in Portland as part of the Society of American Travel Writers’ annual meeting, and my room came with a goldfish. A goldfish! With a name!

Touches like that are what make Kimpton hotels special, a trait that IHG group no doubt agrees with, as it just purchased the boutique group for $430 million in cash. The Kimptons will be a contrast to IHG’s normal spectrum of mainstream hotels including the Holiday Inn and Intercontinental, providing a unique “boutique” angle to the group’s spectrum of properties.

Everything should be inked by the end of the first quarter in 2015. I for one am looking forward to earning IHG rewards points at the world’s Kimptons.

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Social Quote of the Day

Some @Kimpton Hotels fans do not take kindly to the sale of their beloved to @IHG. http://buswk.co/1uYiA8P

@justinbachman | Justin Bachman, Aviation Reporter at Bloomberg Businessweek

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Airlines

A New Strategy for Earning and Keeping Airline Elite Status in 2015: As the year begins to close and frequent travelers lock in their status for the 2015 travel year, many are now looking forward towards their strategies for the year to come. For most, that game will change significantly. Read more at Skift

Why Disrespecting Flight Attendants is Totally Nuts: The “nut rage” Korean Air incident, which led to airline executive and head of cabin service, Cho Hyun-ah, stepping down, shows that even airlines can forget why they have flight attendants onboard in the first place: cabin safety. Read more at Skift

Alaska Begins Rollout of ‘Alaska Beyond,’ Upgrades In-Flight Entertainment, Dining & Seating Across All Cabins: Alaska Airlines introduced its new Alaska Beyond concept on Monday, boasting new premium entertainment services, artisanal food and beverages, as well as in-cabin enhancements, such as a personal power port at every seat. Read more at FlyerTalk

United Airlines Will Give Cabin Crew 23,000 iPhone 6 Plus Devices: United Airlines will give 23,000 iPhone 6 Plus devices to its flight attendants in an effort to improve cabin service. Read more at Skift

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Airports

U.S. Airlines Still Lag Far Behind Global Carriers for On-Time Performance: European airlines accounted for nearly half of the world’s top 20 airlines measured by best on-time performance in November, and many European carriers jumped several spots from their October ranking. Read more at Skift

U.S. Travelers Want Airports to Track Their Mobile Devices: Navigating through many U.S. airports requires courage, stamina and an abundance of patience, and more than half of passengers say they’d let an airport track their mobile devices if it meant getting accurate, updated wait times to help alleviate airport stressors. Read more at Skift

Airline Mobile Boarding Pass Security Flaw Found and Apparently Fixed: Swap a few letters on the URL to access your next mobile boarding pass and you might end up in a better seat, on a different flight or with a new airline. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Apple Pay Will Become a Standard Option for Travel Brands: When Apple announced several months ago that Apple Pay would soon expedite how consumers made payments online and in stores, travel brands from ride-sharing companies to booking sites began integrating the near field communications technology. Read more at Skift

Marriott’s New Snapchat Campaign Is a First for Travel Brands: Between the rise of hotel lifestyle brands and new social campaigns this year the hospitality sector hasn’t had a lack of content, but so far Snapchat hasn’t been part of the fun. This week Marriott will break that mold. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Interview: How Hyatt’s CEO Empowers Employees to Drive the Guest Experience: Hyatt Hotels came out of the global recession with a jetpack strapped on. The hotel group had its highest expansion year on record in 2013 and entered the all-inclusive sector with with new brands Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara. It has beat earnings estimates for the last eight consecutive quarters in part due to rebounding business travel. Read more at Skift

InterContinental Hotels Group to Acquire Kimpton Hotels for $430 Million: InterContinental Hotels Group agreed to acquire Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for $430 million in cash, a move that enhances its stature as a force in boutique and lifestyle hotels given the chain’s existing Hotel Indigo and Even Hotels brands. Read more at Skift

Interview: Denihan Hotels CEO on Giving Guests a Story to Go Home With: Denihan Hospitality Group is a 50-year-old family-run company behind luxury and lifestyle properties branded under The James and Affinia Hotel Collection as well as luxury independents The Surrey and The Benjamin and affiliates including The Franklin, The Mansfield and Shoreham in New York City. Read more at Skift

Why Every Major Hotel Brand Wants in on the Boutique Business: The circle is now complete. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest hospitality brand, just acquired Kimpton Hotels, the world’s first boutique hotel brand. But what does a boutique hotel even mean anymore? Read more at Skift

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, but sometimes on Friday.

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Photo Credit: Webpage for Hotel Monaco Union Square, San Francisco. Kimpton Hotels