This week in hospitality news, former SoftBank darling Ritesh Agarwal is paring back his ambitions for Oyo, beginning with cutting more than 1,000 staff. Plus, Skift predicts that 2020 will be the year of subscription travel.
Hotel News Weekly Roundup
Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines hotels.
For all of our weekend roundups, go here.
Oyo Axes Staff and Pares Back Ambitions: Where Does It Go From Here? Those unbelievable expansion numbers that Ritesh Agarwal used to rattle off? We won’t be hearing them again in 2020. The Oyo founder is forced to think of business sustainability. Let’s see if he’s adept at it.
Travel Megatrends 2020: Subscription Travel Is the Next Frontier of Loyalty: Earning consumer loyalty means more than giving them rewards. Subscriptions and memberships represent a compelling way for travel companies to create lasting relationships with consumers.
Latin America’s Biggest Travel Company Isn’t Despegar or Booking: Brazil’s CVC Corp.’s purchase of Argentina’s Almundo is a strategic move to increase its digital reach — but more importantly it helps CVC build even greater scale beyond its home borders.
Google Vacation Rental Partners Diverge on Whether to Name Guests in Reviews: Booking sites’ guests reviews on Google have been a highly charged issue for years. The latest is that Airbnb and TripAdvisor are willingly giving Google their guest reviews of vacation rentals, but they are busy figuring out how not to give away the store in the process.
Carbon Footprint Impact Extends Way Beyond Flights Across All of a Vacation: New Study: It’s a very small sample size at a very small travel company, but this study points to a possible way forward for the travel industry. If consumers can get a better idea of the environmental impact of their vacations, they can then make more informed decisions.
MGM Resorts to Sell Las Vegas Strip Properties MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay: MGM Resorts has agreed to sell two of its most notable Las Vegas properties, MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay, to a joint venture including real estate giant Blackstone. The company is going asset-light following its sale of the Bellagio last year.
Hyatt’s Partnership With Headspace Elevates Wellness Strategy: Hyatt Hotels is teaming up with meditation and wellness company Headspace to help its guests and employees lead healthier lives while traveling and working. Is this the way to gain their hearts and minds?
A Wish List for Hospitality and Travel in 2020: In 2020, the stakes for innovation and being customer-centric are higher than ever. Here are some gaps, opportunities, and much-needed prescriptions to improve travel and hospitality.
Are Hotels Ready for Wellness Certification? As the new decade begins, it’s becoming more apparent to the travel industry that the well-being of the individual is intrinsically tied to the well-being of the environment. That’s why we are starting to see hospitality companies looking into getting certified for wellness.
Premier Inn Owner Whitbread Wants a Closer Relationship With Corporate Travel Agents: In a tougher operating environment, it makes sense to look at new ways to attract more business. Whitbread has been one of the few hotel chains to totally ignore online travel agents in the past. Now it’s signaling a change in strategy at least for corporate customers.
Hilton Launches New Brand Tempo Into a Crowded Lifestyle Space: Hilton has introduced its 18th brand. Tempo by Hilton is meant to be an affordable lifestyle brand for the modern traveler. But with so many lifestyle brands already out there, how will Tempo be able to stand out?
How Certifying a Hotel’s Wellness Bonafides Could Shake Up the Industry: Right now, a hotel can offer guests lemon water at check-in and call itself a wellness property. A new wellness certification might raise the bar for that distinction and help legitimize the industry.
Two Emblems of India Tourism Cut Costs to Stay Afloat: Air India and Oyo couldn’t be more different, not just in their respective businesses, but both could be gone in a New York minute if they aren’t able get past the biggest test they face currently.
What This Minor Vs. Marriott Lawsuit Reveals About the Hotel Biz: Minor is a step closer to getting its case against Marriott heard in a Thai court, probably a nightmarish scenario for hotel management companies if only because it bares open fault lines.
6 Takeaways From Airbnb’s Manifesto on Being a Stakeholder Capitalist Ahead of Davos: Airbnb has legions of critics, and it knows that its articulated stakeholder goals will get intense scrutiny. But if the company turns some of these corporate governance aspirations into reality, then it could emerge looking pretty good compared with many established travel industry companies offering just lip service.
Xiezhu Raises $37 Million for Smart Hotel Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week, travel startups announced more than $100 million in funding. One company to call out is Xiezhu. It provides software and hardware to about 8,000 hotels in China. We expect broad growth in the “smart hotels” trend, which involves devices such as electronic door locks for guest rooms that can be opened by voice or facial recognition.
Photo credit: Former SoftBank darling Ritesh Agarwal has to pare back his ambitions for Oyo. Oyo