What to Know Now

The expansion of Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels continues. So far, the company’s only property in Chicago, Illinois has enjoyed rave reviews, largely because of its tech-forward and classically Virgin design.

Construction on Virgin’s second hotel in Nashville, with an opening date in the fall of 2016, has been under way for awhile, while another property in New York City is making similar progress. But management has generally been tight-lipped on further plans.

As of last week, however, the cat’s finally out of the bag: Dallas will be the home of the next Virgin hotel, a new property with 200 rooms in the Design District. Construction wraps up in 2018 and the hotel can’t come any sooner.

Social Quote of the Day

Hmm just realised I forgot to pack socks and other essential garments. Guess Greek economy is about to make some money from me.

@richardquest | Richard Quest, CNN Anchor



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Lufthansa rolls out new Business Class Signature Service: Based around the concept of individualised restaurant service, the program will see a higher crew-to-passenger ratio of one flight attendant for every eight passengers in the business class cabin. Read more at Australian Business Traveller

Airlines Select Tracking Solution After Disappearance of MH370: After the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370, the aviation industry has considered a number of established aircraft tracking solutions but most airlines are still undecided. Read more at Skift

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North Korea unveils gleaming new airport for Pyongyang: The glass-fronted building is reported to be six times larger than the old terminal but passenger numbers are likely to be low. Read more at the BBC

O’Hare Airport Is Falling Behind In Operations and Retail, Aviation Chief Says: Chicago’s new aviation chief is warning business leaders that O’Hare International Airport is falling behind other global hubs. Read more at Skift



Facebook Gets Physical With Beacons and Offers at Hotels and Other Businesses: Hundreds of businesses, including hospitality brands, in New York City are testing Facebook Bluetooth beacons, which are wireless devices at business locations that push offers and events to customers’ smartphones. Read more at Skift

Why High-Speed Rail Has Been a Nonstarter in the U.S.: Travelers easily whiz from city to city on high-speed trains in many parts of South America, Asia and Europe. Since the first high-speed lines began operating more than 50 years ago in Japan, they have become an essential part of transportation worldwide. Read more at Skift

Uber’s Biggest Rival in China Just Raised $1.5 Billion in 5 Days: Didi Kuaidi, the car-booking business backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., told investors in a letter Friday its $1.5 billion fundraising target was oversubscribed in five days. Read more at Skift

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Marriott, Universal Music Form Partnership for Live Performances: Marriott is getting into the music business, so to speak. Read more at Skift

Waldorf Astoria’s Union Workers to Receive Generous Severance: Workers at New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel who are losing their jobs in a partial condominium conversion will get severance payouts averaging more than $142,000. Read more at Skift

‘Dirty Dancing’ Catskills Hotel to Become Billionaire’s Yoga Hub: The historic hotel in upstate New York that inspired the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing” will come to be known for its downward dog. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Dave Seminara’s series on travel pioneers is hitting its stride over on BBC Travel. Give it a good read.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: A second Virgin hotel is under construction in Nashville, following the opening of the first in Chicago. And a Dallas property is slated to open in 2018. Pictured is Virgin Hotels' grand chamber. Virgin Hotels