Skift Take

In travel-related coronavirus stories this week, Skift covered potential recovery timelines, layoffs at Tripadvisor and Kayak, Aribnb's vision of an era of travel redistribution, lessons for hoteliers from 9/11 and SARS, and Hilton's partnership to enhance its cleaning protocols, among many other topics.

Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering the impact of coronavirus by connecting the dots across the travel industry. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.


What Would a Timeline for Travel’s Reopening Look Like?: A helpful — and hopeful — timeline for the battered travel sector. Local travel will likely lead this reopening timeline.

Tripadvisor Lays Off 25 Percent of Global Workforce, Closes Some Offices: Tripadvisor isn’t immune from the coronavirus travel lockdown in many parts of the world, and it is taking difficult steps to survive the pandemic.

What Hoteliers Can Learn From the 9/11 and SARS Crises: New Skift Research: With no way of knowing how long this crisis will last or what recovery will look like, we look back at two past crises to see how the industry reacted then, and what lessons can be learned. Many, as it turns out.

Airbnb to Roll Out Sanitization Plan for Hosts That Would Include 72-Hour Wait Between Stays: Cleanliness standards will guide guest preferences in the years ahead. Short-term rental host practices will have to undergo significant enhancements to cope with that changing consumer behavior — a heightened sensitivity to just how clean their surroundings are as an outgrowth of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hilton, Lysol, and the Mayo Clinic Team Up on New Cleaning Standard for Hotels: Are enhanced cleaning standards enough to calm travelers’ nerves once social distancing goes away? We’ll find out this summer.

Kayak and OpenTable Layoffs and Furloughs Impact 400 Employees: The job cuts at Kayak and OpenTable represent the first reported layoffs and furloughs at parent company Booking Holdings growing out of the coronavirus crisis other than for 48 contractors at whose agreements weren’t renewed. Few travel companies will emerge unscathed so it wouldn’t be surprising if more cuts were coming at other Booking brands.

41 Percent of Americans Say First Trip Will Be by Car Within 100 Miles: Skift Research Travel Tracker: What’s on consumers’ mind now about traveling on the other side of the pandemic? Skift Research’s third monthly travel tracker report attempts to find the answers.

The Coming Future Of Travel, In 100 Questions:These are the questions whose answers one way or the other will define how travel moves on from here and what the coming future would look like. These broad lines of enquiry will define our coverage of the global travel recovery in coming months and years.

Southwest CEO Believes First Week of April Was the Bottom: Residents of many U.S. states are still under stay-at-home orders. It seems too early to try to promote more air travel. But Southwest needs cash to stay afloat, so it probably must keep trying to fill its aircraft.

The Case for Why Airbnb’s Foray Into Experiences Is a Fundamental Mistake: It is highly risky for Airbnb to pivot to compete directly as an online travel agency, and it needs to seriously think about whether its sharing model truly extends to the activity, experience provider because in reality it doesn’t.

An Uptick in Fraud Is Complicating Airline Refunds for Canceled Flights: The surge in requests for refunds on canceled flights has given cover for con artists to commit a few types of fraud. Airlines need to tap better ways to protect themselves and travelers.

Airlines Turn to Corp Travel Pitches After Securing Bailouts: Any future messaging will need to deliver on the promises, otherwise airlines risk losing loyalty in the long term.

New Calm Created by Coronavirus Offers Southeast Asia Chance to Redo Sustainable Tourism: If the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s that destinations must put sustainability at the top of the agenda to thrive. Will coronavirus be a turning point for Southeast Asia’s volume-fixated tourism model?

The Technology That Can Make Events Possible in a Pandemic: As many countries announce the easing of lockdown measures, many event professionals wonder when we will meet again. Technology will make some events possible. Here is an overview of what to keep an eye on.

Travel’s Paralysis Will Hurt Google’s Advertising Business in Coming Months: Google’s advertising business slowed in March as the pandemic kicked in globally. The second quarter, which ends in June, could be worse, and travel advertisers doing everything they can to conserve cash will be one of the reasons.

Hotel Operators Prepare for a Peak Summer Travel Season That May Never Check In: Seasonal hotels risk not surviving to see 2021 if governments don’t allow some level of business to return this summer.

U.S. Destinations Use Driving Data to Gauge Pent-Up Demand: When people are finally willing to get away, there is a belief they will be willing to do so primarily by car. The Arrivalist has a dataset designed to help destinations know precisely when that is.

Chinese Online Platforms View the Great Travel Recovery as a Drawn-Out Process: An unfortunate first-mover in the pandemic, China, in turn, got an early start on its travel recovery. But officials at major travel companies there view a robust bounce back as taking a year or longer — and much of that pace depends on how quickly coronavirus gets neutralized in the rest of the world.

Early Recovery for Resorts Will Be Beholden to Last-Minute Bookings: Club Med’s North America CEO: All eyes are on Asia’s hotel recovery, as Club Med’s North American and Caribbean division waits to reopen resorts to (hopefully) pent-up travel demand.

New Virtual Tour of Wuhan Dispels Coronavirus City Reputation: Wuhan may be a household name now — but not for the greatest of reasons. With its “Spotlight Series” of online tours, tour company Walks wants to try and change that.

American’s Pandemic Reality: We Will Be a Much Smaller Airline, Says CEO: To keep cash coming in, American Airlines needs passengers to buy tickets for late this year and early next. But there’s a problem. American doesn’t know what flights it will fly that far in advance.

Google Should Stop Bill Collection for First Quarter, 8 Travel Startups Demand: Google has a huge travel advertising business. If Google’s advertising partners had to hand out tons of refunds to consumers for coronavirus-tinged trips that never happened, shouldn’t Google, with its deep pockets, share in the pain?

The Anguish of a Travel CEO in a World Shut Down: This letter is a mirror to the anguish of travel founders, executives, and operators everywhere in the world today, balancing survival and business purpose.

When You Don’t Have Any Domestic Tourism to Rely On: Maldives as a Pandemic Case Study: The coronavirus pandemic has underscored Maldives’ tourism vulnerability. How this Indian Ocean nation strategizes its recovery path in the days ahead could be a good case study for other small island nations heavily reliant on foreign tourist dollars.

United Vows ‘No Sacred Cows’ in All-Out Effort to Save Airline: United President Scott Kirby has taken Covid-19 seriously since the virus first started spreading across the globe. Will that foresight help lessen the blow?

Carnival Faces U.S. Congressional Investigation Into Its Coronavirus Response: Carnival’s recent loans gave it about six months of breathing room to survive without almost no bookings. It needs to act decisively if it wants to restore public confidence in time to avoid an even larger crisis.

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Tags: airlines, coronavirus, google, hotels, roundups, tours

Photo credit: Girl on a Mobike bike in the line for street food shops in Wuhan China. Walks

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