What to Know Now

Just when you thought the Marriott-Starwood deal was in the books, it seems that a new challenger has appeared. The new bid comes from Anbang Insurance, the same group that scooped up the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and that is making other strategic hospitality investments.

Whether the Marriott-Starwood deal is too far down the pipeline is still a bit murky. Under the currently forming agreement, Starwood CAN consider other offers, but that period ends today. There’s also a $400 million breakup fee tied to the current deal falling apart.

Either way, the challenge may show that Starwood was a hotter property than many previously thought and that the Chinese are serious players in the industry. Today should be an interesting day for Starwood and Marriott.

Social Quote of the Day

“Suddenly, this new company comes in and re-evaluates the price of hotels. It’s not like we’re building a lot of new hotels. That’s one of the things that made this deal so special. It’s not like there’s this resurgence of hotel building. There’s a scarcity. I like this deal from Anbang.”

– Jim Cramer on Squawk on the Street

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Airlines

Interview: Wow Air CEO on Being Different in the Low-Cost Carrier Space: As the battle among European low-cost carriers has heated up, Icelandic upstart Wow Air has set its sights across the Atlantic, hoping to earn the trust of American flyers. Read more at Skift

Virgin America touts tech as it launches SFO-Denver flights: Some airlines christen new routes with a modest launch. Not Virgin America. The San Francisco-based airline pulls out all the stops for its new routes, launching them with celebrity appearances, politicians and all the fanfare you’d expect from from Richard Branson and his colleagues. Read more at USA Today

Singapore Airlines CEO on Its Multi-Brand Strategy for Winning in Asia: The Singapore Airlines Group has built a portfolio that it hopes appeals to nearly every kind of passenger — luxury, business, economy or budget — and its changing strategy in Asia highlights the growing importance of the region to global carriers. Read more at Skift

American Tightens Premium Cabin Free Baggage Allowance: Continuing the trend of taking away from premium passengers, American shared today that they’re eliminating the 3rd free checked bag from domestic first class and international business class. Read more at View from the Wing

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Airports

The FAA Gets a Temporary Extension From the U.S. House: The House voted Monday to extend the Federal Aviation Administration’s operating authority through mid-July while Congress works on a longer aviation policy bill. Read more at Skift

JetBlue has big plans for Fort Lauderdale, adds New Orleans nonstop: JetBlue will add nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and New Orleans and increase flights on its existing route between Fort Lauderdale and Nassau in the Bahamas. Read more at USA Today

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Tech

Travel Managers Try Incentives to Get Business Travelers Into Preferred Restaurants: Tracking and managing dining expenses is a huge headache for businesses. Read more at Skift

GM Is Giving Lyft Drivers an Edge in the Battle Over Uber: Got a jalopy or don’t even have a car? You can still be a driver for ride-sharing service Lyft Inc. Read more at Skift

BMW Is Readying a Rival to Uber and Ride-Sharing Services in Germany: BMW is said to be exploring offering a ride-sharing service, something that would pit it against the mighty Uber. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Expedia CEO: Marriott and Hilton’s Direct Booking Moves Will Hurt Them: Priceline Group CEO Darren Huston apparently isn’t the only travel industry bigwig unenthusiastic about big moves by Marriott and Hilton to push direct bookings by withholding their lowest rates from the major online travel agencies. Dara Khosrowshahi, the Expedia Inc. CEO, isn’t a big fan either. Read more at Skift

Skift CMO Interviews: Red Roof Inn CMO on Being Brilliant With the Basics: Travelers often feel they sacrifice comfort for price point when staying at economy brand hotels, a trade-off Red Roof Inn wants to eliminate while still keeping rates low but amenities better than expected. Read more at Skift

Smart Hotel Brands Are Already Thinking About Generation Z: In an increasingly competitive hospitality space, it pays to be well ahead of the game when it comes to cultivating loyal customers—even if some of them might still in the womb. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Next week’s Restless Legs reading in New York City features a reading Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. More on the Restless Legs Readings here.

Tips and Comments

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

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Photo Credit: The W Hotel along Barcelona's Barceloneta beach. Oh Barcelona / Flickr