In Skift's top coronavirus-related travel stories this week, we detailed hopeful signals about a recovery, independent hotels mulling joining a flag, Scott Kirby's upcoming coronation as United Airlines CEO, and Vietnam leading the tourism pack in Southeast Asia.
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.
Learning to Walk Again: 20 Hopeful Signs for Reopening the Travel Economy: Here’s to the world’s most consequential sector learning to walk again …
Hotels Are Betting Big on Brand Conversions Coming of Out of the Crisis: Is That Smart?: Depending on whether global brands or independent operators are the ones talking, there is a lot of money to be won or left on the table in a hotel brand conversion. Run the numbers on renovation costs and fee structures before making the plunge into one of these deals.
Remembering Hope Is Not a Strategy: Who United Airlines Needs Right Now: Scott Kirby takes over as United’s CEO on May 20. Kirby is positioning himself as the rare leader in corporate America who tells the truth to employees and shareholders. Some people don’t like him for it. But his comments are refreshing.
Vietnam Races Ahead of Other Southeast Asian Countries in Tourism Reopening: Astonishingly, Vietnam is the success story in Southeast Asia in the battle with coronavirus. Domestic travel is now kickstarting recovery, while so-called travel bubbles allowing travel with China and South Korea are in the air.
Why the UK’s New 14-Day Quarantine Rule Is Particularly Troubling to Business Travel Managers: Quarantine measures don’t steady the nerves of already anxious corporate travel managers, who can now only hope for more bilateral agreements to help staff get flying again.
Breakdown of Lufthansa and Sabre Deal Signals New Risks for Corp Travel: The exact reasons for wanting to terminate the content deal aren’t clear, but Lufthansa’s direct-selling drive might have something to do with it.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen Says Most of the World Has Seen the Bottom: Marriott sees early signs of travel demand coming back to properties in China and North America. But its plans to mount an aggressive marketing campaign to take as much of the early recovery market share as possible recognizes it will be tough competition on the rebound.
Don’t Count Out Allegiant Air’s Septuagenarian CEO in This Crisis: Is it prudent to travel for leisure? Perhaps not. But is that stopping people from traveling? No, it is not. So Allegiant Air and its CEO Maury Gallagher figure it might as well benefit.
Another Big Deal Sunk by Coronavirus: Amex GBT Investment Deal Falls Through: Relations are getting testy between American Express GBT and deep-pocketed investors that are backing out of a big deal. Regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit being argued in a Delaware court, Amex GBT should have plenty of money at its disposal to go shopping for strategic investments in business travel later this year.
Airbnb CEO Tells Hosts Success Against Hotel Competitors Hinges on Adopting Cleaning Protocols: It’s a good idea that Brian Chesky is now doing weekly videos with hosts. It would be more effective — but admittedly riskier — if he took live questions. It will be a long process to rebuild trust from hosts because so many feel burned by the company’s coronavirus refund policy.
Coronavirus Upheaval Prompts Independent Hotels to Look at Management Company Startups: The startup Life House has a new white-labeled full management service that doesn’t require a costly rebrand or renovation. We expect only a few dozen hotels will sign up this year for it. But the new offering underscores the bigger picture, stark choices facing the owners of tens of thousands of independent hotels now.
Choice Hotels Expects Brand Conversions and Extended Stay to Fuel Post-Pandemic Growth: It’s never too early to start planning for growth, but even bullish leadership teams need to focus on the uncertain near-term before playing offense with conversion targets.
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Photo Credit: Revenue per room tanked 90 percent globally in April for Marriott, but the world's largest hotel company sees positive signs in China and North America. OCLS Central Michigan University / Wikimedia