In coronavirus-related travel stories this week, Skift covered the divergent views among Marriott, Accor, American and United about the shape of the travel recovery, the anguish of travel's lost summer, contactless tech as the next big thing, and how tour guides will be at the forefront of safety measures.
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.
Marriott and Accor CEOs Disagree on How Quickly Europe’s Hotels Will Recover: As long as Europe can create a strong network of travel bubbles or reopen as much of the Schengen Area without coronavirus travel restrictions, its hotel recovery timeline may surprise hotel executives like Marriott’s Arne Sorenson.
Contactless Tech Promises to Be Travel’s Next Big Thing: What’s Real and What’s Hype?: Low-touch is the new high-touch in travel. Companies may rapidly adopt some kinds of contactless systems in response to the pandemic. But which ones?
How Many Travel Reopening Guidelines Is Too Many?: Everyone wants travel to resume as safely and assuredly as possible. But a glut of guidelines currently available for how to do so may be a confusing way to reach that aim.
Booking.com Extends Chairwoman Gillian Tans’ Contract to 2021 in Surprise Move: Kayak, OpenTable, and Agoda have laid off employees. The flagship brand, Booking.com, initially took Dutch government relief money that forestalled downsizing, but has opted not to extend it. Amid other restructuring moves under way, that means layoffs are likely on the agenda as Chairwoman Gillian Tans re-ups.
The Anguish of Travel’s Lost Summer: This will be a summer like no other — and not in a good way for the travel industry. But it’s vital that industry leaders prevent themselves from snapping back into business as usual.
American and United Diverge on Summer Recovery Expectations: American and United are taking different approaches in the Covid-19 recovery. Each has valid reasons for their strategies, which seem rooted in how they view the U.S. market’s potential.
Where Are Travel Prices Headed? Get Ready for Twists and Turns: Domestic airfares around the world fell dramatically in May — on average. But, as with hotels, there are currently pockets of strength — and will be for months. Still, contrarian trends don’t make for a nice, tidy trend line when it comes to prices.
Marriott CEO: Virtual Meetings and Remote Work Won’t Hurt Hotels Permanently: Marriott’s Arne Sorenson is optimistic that hotels will eventually go back to pre-coronavirus performance levels, but the biggest uncertainty remains over how long group travel fears will prevent business from a full rebound.
Can Flight Subscriptions Help Airlines Recover From an Unprecedented Drop in Demand?: Before Covid-19, many airlines were skeptical about subscription services. They feared selling cheap seats and not having enough inventory available for big-spenders. But times may be changing.
Tourist Guides Will Be the Earliest Enforcers of Safety Measures in Travel: For tourist guides who manage to ride out travel’s shutdown, a new set of challenges and expectations will be awaiting the profession on the other side.
What South Africa’s Virus Protocols Tell Us About Balancing a Travel Economy With a Nation’s Health: South Africa is understandably cautious as it approaches winter, and doing all it can to stave off a health crisis. But its strict and prolonged protocols might end up doing more harm than good.
Hilton Hall? Colleges Consider Hotels as Dormitories to Speed Up Return to Campus: Residential hall deals with universities may be the rare type of group booking the hotel industry gets in 2020, and provide some operators with enough occupancy and revenue to buoy into recovery mode.
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Photo credit: An Accor property is shown. The leaders of Accor and Marriott disagree about the timing of a travel recovery in Europe. Accor