Skift Take

This week in hospitality news, hundreds of millions in losses, disgruntled partners, and unsatisfied guests: Oyo has gone from startup darling to something of a black sheep, and CEO Ritesh Agarwal still isn't ready to change up his playbook yet. Plus, Choice Hotels sees the upside in corporate travel and is expanding its extended stay brands.

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 CEO Defends Business Practices That Anger Some Hoteliers: If you were thinking after a tumultuous last few months that a reformed Oyo would emerge, then guess again. The hotel chain is giving little ground on the basics of its business model, although it vows to get better on the execution of it all.

Oyo’s Annual Losses Ballooned to $335 Million in 2019: Oyo appears to be taking its once-explosive global expansion strategy down a few notches, and that could be a good thing for the young company in the face of still-uncertain impacts from the coronavirus and the reputational damage it recently suffered. These losses aren’t pretty.

Travel Megatrends 2020: Consumer Brands Jump Into Hospitality Mashups: Consumer brands that see the passion of travelers are taking a leap. These brands are becoming hotel proprietors in greater numbers to reach out to millennials, who see travel as a lifestyle experience. Expect more retailers to invade the hospitality space

Hyatt’s China Business Is Down 90 Percent in February From Coronavirus Fallout: Hyatt Hotels had a strong year in 2019, so the story it had to tell on Thursday wasn’t all dreary. The problem is that shareholders and guests hate uncertainty. And so far the travel industry faces nothing but uncertainty, left beholden to how the coronavirus crisis evolves.

Less China-Dependent IHG Takes Wait-and-See Approach on Coronavirus: IHG CEO Keith Barr seems to be taking quite a level-headed approach to the coronavirus outbreak. Unlike some in the travel industry, he’s not pressing the panic button yet and is waiting to see how things play out.

Europe’s Scandic Hotels Targets Youthful Travelers With New Economy Brand: It’s about time Scandic added another brand to its portfolio. The idea to widen the company’s market in the economy segment is eminently sensible.

Choice Sees No Letup in Biz Travel Demand as It Expands Extended-Stay Hotels: Choice Hotels had a strong year with lots of growth in 2019. The company is focused on bulking up its extended-stay portfolio to continue the trend in 2020 as corporate travelers look increasingly for more creative options.

Meliá Hotels Fined $7.2 Million by European Union for Antitrust Breach: The European single market is a sacred thing and anyone caught trying to divide it up like the old days is liable to be on the receiving end of a punishment. In this case, Meliá’s cooperation with the investigation has helped cut its fine.

New Funding Will Help Colombian Hotel Chain Ayenda Push Into Peru: Ayenda’s Series A is notable for being led by Kaszek, a giant among Latin American venture firms. The industry will be watching to see if Ayenda can apply Oyo’s model of bringing brand standards to budget hotels without running up Oyo’s large losses.

Accor Presses Fast-Forward on Luxury Transformation: Although CEO Sébastien Bazin said the transformation of Accor was pretty much done, he’s not taking his foot off the pedal just yet in terms of moving the company more toward the luxury and lifestyle end of the hospitality market.

Skift Forum Europe Preview: Accor Accelerates Luxury Growth to Stay Ahead of the Pack: Accor’s transformation over the past few years has been remarkable, but now it’s facing a new challenge in Europe from the likes of Oyo. Can its accelerating development of upscale brands help offset growing competition in the midrange and economy sectors?

This Company Helps Luxury Hotels Go Analog to Get Guests to Unplug: The luxury hospitality industry is trying to help guests unwind in these anxiety-ridden, tech-addicted times. It’s refreshing to think that something as simple as a book can make a difference — plus drive repeat hotel visits and even foster community. Luxury properties should take note.

The Novel Way Some Luxury Travel Companies Are Helping Guests Disconnect: Getting new books in the hands of luxury travelers benefits everyone. It improves the guest experience, drives loyalty to hotels, and raises the profile of authors. Because of this, we’ll likely see more luxury properties partnering with Bedside Reading, the company that’s making it happen.

Behind the Travel Buyer’s Search for Simplicity: It turns out simplifying travel programs isn’t a major priority for most organizations. This is an unfortunate reality, leaving travel buyers with numerous challenges.

Loyalty Prime Raises Funding for Subscription-Based Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week: Several travel companies, such as Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Frankfurt Airport, have used the services of Loyalty Prime, a startup that builds next-generation software for running loyalty programs. Loyalty Prime’s new funding is part of a wave of investment that we expect to see in loyalty tech companies.


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Tags: hospitality, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Despite many setbacks, Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal has no plans to decelerate the company's rapid growth. Jose Marmolejos / Skift

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