Skift Take

Travel guides, in their various forms, are a dying breed, especially those that require an expensive army of reviewers. They are still valued by agents and others in the industry, but with cheaper alternatives out there, how long can they survive?

Series: New Luxury

Luxury Travel News

The Skift New Luxury column is our weekly column focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.

A few weeks ago we reported on Travel + Leisure’s changes to its A-List platform: a controversial move designed to monetize one of the publication’s most marketable products.

This week we have a different tale, but one that comes from the same luxury travel ratings world.

The Forbes Travel Guide, in various guises, has been around since 1958 and is one of the stalwarts in a fast-changing industry. But running an operation using “anonymous professional inspectors” is a costly enterprise, especially when compared with TripAdvisor and Google.

And then there’s the conflict of interest issue. Does the Forbes Travel Guide’s business consultancy operation influence its choices? Apparently not, according to the company.

It seems luxury travel agents still value the publication, but in a world where user-generated content is replacing the information gatekeepers of old, how much longer will this last?

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @paddywhyte.

— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor

7 Looks at Luxury

An Inside Look at the Forbes Travel Guide: With so many hotel ratings systems out there, which one can you trust? Should ratings systems be open to all, a la the People’s Choice Awards, or do more accurate results come from a system of professionals judging professionals, a la the Oscars or the Tonys? We take a look at one of the world’s top rating guides for luxury properties.

Airline Upgrades Lead to a Purloined Pillow Problem: Why can’t business class passengers have nice things? Here’s one problem: When airlines upgrade their amenities, passengers often steal them.

United Moving Ahead With Making Business Class More Sleep-Friendly: United’s first quarter earnings call was uneventful. For an airline that has had more than its share of drama over the past four years, that’s a good thing.

How to Make Abu Dhabi a Real Destination and Not Just a Stopover: Abu Dhabi has a long way to go to become a destination and not just a stopover. Here are some ideas.

Mr and Mrs Smith Joins Tours and Activities Rush With SideStory Acquisition: Trips, experiences, tours, activities — Call them what you like, travel brands want a bigger piece of the sector. For plenty of companies, it’s no longer just about the flight or hotel.

Sri Lanka Quietly Opens Itself Up to Luxury Tourism, 10 Years After Revolution: Balancing the needs of local residents with those of incoming travelers is something Sri Lankan officials need to consider seriously, especially if they want to avoid the perils of overtourism.

Luxury Luggage Brand Rimowa Wants to Sell More Than Suitcases: Sales of Rimowa’s grooved aluminum suitcases are growing by an estimated 30 percent a year. But brand extensions beyond luggage could turn out to be a case study in dreams that go undelivered.


Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte [[email protected]] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.

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Tags: hotels, luxury

Photo credit: The Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. The property has a five-star rating on the Forbes Travel Guide. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

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