What to Know Now

North American business travelers with a finer taste in hotel properties can look forward to a more modest family of partner hotels now that Accor has finalized the acquisition of Fairmont Raffles. Accor, which largely operates widespread and middle-of-the-pack hotels out of the EU originally picked up Fairmont Raffles in an effort to expand out the luxury end of its portfolio. Together, the joint product — which includes brands ranging from Raffles to Sofitel to ibis to Accor — will have about 4,000 hotels worldwide.

The unified Accor network will also now be better positioned to take on the giants of Marriott, Hilto,n and Starwood. And with high loyalty program rankings plus a wide network of properties, they may actually be able to compete.

As to how the joint loyalty program will look, Accor is taking a page from the Starwood-Marriot merger and leaving that bag of snakes untouched. Expect change in that realm next year.

Social Quote of the Day

Our friends at @united have high hopes for their new hot towel scent. Who knew this much work went into smells?

– @BrianSumers | Brian Sumers, Airline Business Reporter for @skift

_Citi_AAdvantage-Exec-3C5_DM

Airlines

American Air Has Two New Very Profitable Credit Card Loyalty Deals: American Airlines should finally at least match its two main competitors in credit card revenue, announcing Tuesday it has reached deals with Citibank and Barclays that likely will produce more than $1.5 billion in pre-tax revenue during the next two and a half years. Read more at Skift

Qatar Airways Wants a Small Stake in Latam Airlines: Qatar Airways plans to buy a stake in Latam Airlines Group SA, anchoring the Gulf carrier to one of the closest allies of IAG SA, in which it already has a minority holding. Read more at Skift

The Big Reason Hawaiian and JetBlue Oppose Delta’s Aeromexico Joint Venture: Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue Airways are objecting to Delta Air Lines’ proposal for antitrust immunity with Aeromexico, arguing the deal would set a precedent that may undercut future Open Skies agreements. Read more at Skift

wpid-thumbnail-882759eb1769dfdd0883cb830e304a50.jpeg

Airports

Nearly Half of TSA Employees Have Been Cited for Misconduct: While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been placed under scrutiny for long security checkpoint lines this summer, the true scope of the organization’s problems are more deeply embedded in its bureaucratic culture. Read more at Skift

Europe Is Still Threatening to End Visa-Waiver Travel by North Americans: The European Commission refrained for the second time this year from pushing for the retaliatory move, which EU law foresees because the U.S. and Canada have refused to waive obligations for citizens of some countries in the bloc. In mid-April, when facing an initial deadline to act, the commission pledged to return to the matter by July 13. Read more at Skift

United Airlines Takes a $400 Million Hit After FAA Lifts Newark Limits: United Airlines will take special charges of more than $400 million for the second quarter after the value of its slot holdings at Newark Liberty International Airport plummeted to zero because of the Federal Aviation Administration’s April decision to open the airfield for more flights. Read more at Skift

Bill to Boost Airport Security and Reduce Checkpoint Lines Passes U.S. House: The House passed an aviation bill Monday aimed at boosting airport security, reducing screening lines and refunding fees to passengers whose luggage is lost or arrives late. Read more at Skift

tour

Tech

Orbitz Founding CEO Gets Backing From Major Airlines and Hotel Chains for ‘Experiences’ Startup: Jeff Katz, the former Sabre president, Swissair CEO, and founding CEO of Orbitz, is teaming up again with Boston Consulting Group, which drew up the plans for Orbitz, but this time, in addition to a couple of legacy airlines as investors, four major hotel chains are on board. Read more at Skift

The Disappointing Life of Hotel Industry Booking Site Room Key: Still not sure what Room Key is? You’re probably not alone in that regard, and that’s one of the biggest problems with its business: a major lack of brand awareness. Read more at Skift

Luggage Made From Recycled Airplane Seats Might Just Be Indestructible: Do you remember that giant Boeing 737 engine that was turned into the ultimate supervillain chair? The same designers behind that creation, Fallen Furniture, have a new aeronautical upcycling venture called Plane that uses recycled fabrics from airplane seats as the base for a new line of luxury bags that actually end up looking far more stylish than the seats you get crammed into when flying economy class. Read more at Gizmodo

5 New Travel Startups Giving Travelers Something Different With Alternative Accommodations: It’s summertime in much of the world and that means millions of travelers are looking to escape from their homes and find new ones while they’re exploring new destinations. Read more at Skift

accor

Hotels

Why Inflation and Rising Wages Could Be Good News for Hotels: Where we are in the financial cycle, and the rise of labor costs, are two things weighing quite heavily on the minds of hoteliers these days. Read more at Skift

Accor Finalizes $2.7 Billion Purchase of Fairmont Raffles: AccorHotels today finalized its purchase of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI), the Toronto-based parent company to the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel brands, for $2.7 billion. Read more at Skift

Airbnb’s Potential Impact on Hotels During the Republican and Democratic Conventions: This year’s Republican and Democratic conventions may prove what hotels have long feared: They could lose a consistent windfall to Airbnb and other home-sharing services. Read more at Skift

Hospitality Innovations in the Space Between Boutique Hotel and Airbnb: One of the most interesting places in the hospitality market sits right between a small, boutique hotel and Airbnb. It plays into a few interesting trends happening right now, and actually solves some of the problems on each side of the equation. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Congratulations to Drew Patterson, whose CheckMate, the hotel messaging platform, was just acquired by TrustYou. Read all about the transition here.

Tips and Comments

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

Subscribe to the Skift Business Traveler Newsletter

Photo Credit: Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco and Spa. The hotel's parent company is growing through acquisitions and geographic expansion. AccorHotels