WHAT TO KNOW NOW

Another day, another hotel brand launched for Millennial travelers. This time, it’s Starwood’s turn at the helm with its launch of Tribute hotels, a boutique network of four- star properties flying under the same flag.

Tribute’s price point and digital footprint are geared for the millennial audience, hopefully capturing the new generation of discerning travelers now coming of age. It only has one hotel on the books right now, the Royal Palm South Beach in Miami, but apparently Asheville, Nashville, Savannah and Charleston are also in the hopper.

Whether they engender enough “digital impact” or “viral videos” is still TBD, but from a design perspective, the Royal Palm looks great. I look forward to test driving the properties on the west coast.

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AIRLINES

Turkish Air CEO Thinks All Pilots Should Get Married: Turkish Airlines‘ CEO has one possible solution to avoid another case like last month’s Germanwings crash: have pilots get married. Read more at Skift

U.S. Airlines Are Breaking Out the Good Wine for First and Business Class Flyers: U.S. airlines have spent the past few years making improvements to their first- and business-class cabins, from reclining seats that become plush beds to restaurant-quality meals. Despite those changes, one important area of upscale travel has lagged behind: the quality of the wine. Read more at Skift

U.S. Airlines Consider Staycations as International Routes Go Weak: The piles of cash landing on the balance sheets of big U.S. airlines aren’t evenly distributed. In fact, it’s mostly a case of cashing in at home—the rest of the world is a scary place, at least in financial terms. Read more at Skift

Star Wars Comes to ANA With R2-D2-Themed Dreamliner: In a stellar feat of airline film-franchise cross-branding, ANA announced the launch of a five-year Star Wars project and agreement with The Walt Disney Company’s Japan division. Read more at Skift

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AIRPORTS

Technology Can’t Completely Replace Pilots, Says Airbus Executive: Pilots shouldn’t be replaced by fully automated systems even after the deliberate crash of an Airbus Group NV A320 last month — because on balance they make flying safer, according to the chief of Airbus’s commercial airliner unit. Read more at Skift

Airport Spas Are Taking Pampering to New Heights: Facials, massages, and bliss are not really words you associate with airports, but that may soon be changing. Hot on the heels of another travel trend—hotel wellness—airports are beginning to capitalize on pampering their passengers. Read more at Travel + Leisure

 

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TECH

The Economy Seat Concept That Will Have Passengers Booking the Middle Seat: The Cozy Suite by independent seating manufacturer Thompson Aero Seating of Northern Ireland is a brilliant idea that rethinks economy seating without sacrificing the passenger experience for anyone — including the person stuck in the middle seat. Read more at Skift

This Eco-Friendly Airplane Window Shade Could Be Your Smartphone’s New Best Friend: A new Crystal Cabin Award winner from interiors components manufacturer B/E Aerospace, could soon recharge our personal electronic devices in-flight by making the most of the limitless power of the sun. Read more at Skift

The Airline Toilet That Is Set to Revolutionize In-Flight Relief: In a surprise move in the high-altitude game of thrones, Zodiac Aerospace has developed the Swiss Army Knife of aircraft toilets that’s destined to forever revolutionize the plane lavatory. Read more at Skift

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HOTELS

Starwood Launches Tribute, Its Second Brand for Independent Hotels: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Starwood Hotels and Resorts is launching Tribute, a second “soft” brand of independent hotels to follow its Luxury Resorts brand that in 1994 pioneered the practice of bringing independent properties under the umbrella of a larger hotel brand to ease booking and enhance loyalty. Read more at Skift

Loews’ Chairman Says Lousy U.S. Infrastructure Hurts Tourism: Loews Corp. co-Chairman Jonathan Tisch said the U.S. travel and tourism industry needs the federal government’s help to rebuild roads, rails and airports. Read more at Skift

Guyana’s First Five-Star Hotel Opens Amid Protests: Guyana’s first five-star hotel has opened in the South American country under a public-private partnership that Parliament had rejected before the body of lawmakers was temporarily suspended last year. Read more at Skift

Yellowstone’s Oldest Hotel Recognized as Historic Landmark: The oldest hotel in Yellowstone National Park has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Read more at Skift

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TIPS AND COMMENTS

Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

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Photo Credit: The website for Starwood's new Tribute brand. Starwood Hotels & Resorts