Skift Take

In coronavirus-related stories this week, Skift covered actor Will Smith's favorite business travel startup, major airlines eliminating change fees, the seeming end of the ex-pat lifestyle, and how Sonesta took advantage of an IHG default.

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.


The Fresh Prince of Corporate Travel: What prompted actor Will Smith to invest in travel tech startup TravelBank? And what can other companies learn from the way the company has handled the pandemic so far?

Eye-Popping $137 Billion in Lost Revenue: New Skift Health Score of 100 Travel Companies: The month of August brought with it the ugliest earnings season the travel industry has ever seen. We knew the numbers would be rough, but now we can finally understand just how bad this year has been.

The End of the Expat Lifestyle and How That Will Impact the Travel Industry: As the cushy expat gigs wind down in the world, what is needed from a policy standpoint to attract the new generation of talented, remote workers who can go wherever they please? And what does it all mean for travel’s ecosystem?

Corporate Travel’s Downturn Will Deliver This Financial Blow Across All of Travel: Billions of dollars in revenue are at stake next year, even once a dire 2020 is out of the way.

How an $8 Million IHG Default Managed to Double the Size of a Boston Hotel Company Overnight: IHG’s loss stands to be the first in several gains for Sonesta if the hotel company continues to partner with its lodging trust investor on pandemic-related investment and rebranding opportunities around the world.

American and Delta Join United in Ending Domestic Change Fees: Because these are airlines, consumers will want to know: What’s the catch. But there probably isn’t one. Times are tough in the airline industry, and this is as good a time as any to end unpopular fees.

Travel Agencies Scoop Up Laid-Off Agents With New Consulting Divisions: Corporate travel agencies spot a potentially lucrative side hustle by utilizing displaced agents. And why not?

Spirit Airlines Looks to Its Loyalty Program for Fresh Cash: For low-cost-carriers, loyalty programs often have been an afterthought. That’s why Spirit’s isn’t worth much, compared to legacy carrier schemes.

Trivago CEO and Kayak Co-Founder Possess Skewed Views on the Best Way to Innovate: When it comes to brainstorming, there’s no substitute for a Skift reporter ambling over to a Skift Research analyst’s desk, and shooting the breeze about Oyo’s model, or looking over a shoulder to view on screen how Expedia’s marketing spend is trending. That dynamic is really tough to replicate on Zoom.

Airlines Dropping Change Fees May Prompt Corporate Travel Agencies to Reevaluate Myriad Fees Too: There could be a trickle-down effect from the elimination of fees to corporate travel management, but it’s unlikely business passengers were front of mind when the airlines made the call.


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Tags: airlines, change fees, coronavirus, hotels, online travel

Photo credit: Will Smith speaking at 2017 San Diego Comic Con at the San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2017. His venture firm is an investor in TravelBank. Gage Skidmore /

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