Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, we covered Sonesta's rapid growth at the expense of Marriott and IHG, Asia's travel recovery, AirAsia's digital transformation, and Southwest's business travel strategy, among others.

Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including on the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.

Marriott and IHG Fueling Sonesta’s Rapid Growth: Is Hyatt Next?: It only takes a little momentum for a snowball growth effect to transpire, and the unlikely Sonesta seems to have plenty of it to hit an extraordinary five-year growth goal.

Malaysia’s Genting and Spain’s Melia Are the Only Travel Companies to Top a New Corp Sustainability Ranking: Kudos to the two companies for coming out on top of The Wall Street Journal’s ranking. But shame on the rest of the sector. Time to do better.

The Silver Lining to Asia’s Travel Recovery Will Be Who Learns the Most From This Pandemic, Says Global Strategist: A crisis can seem “unprecedented” if you haven’t schooled yourself on what has happened elsewhere before. Expect Asia to be the center of the travel sector’s recovery as some countries leapfrog others.

Hilton Adds Resort Amenities to Business Hotels After Months of Leisure-Led Travel: Hilton’s hotel tweaks and new ad campaign are a reminder companies can’t afford to let customers slip away, especially during such an uncertain year for travel.

AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes Talks Digital Transformation in Exclusive Skift Interview: With the closure of its operation in Japan and rumblings about selling its stake in India, AirAsia Group will have to renews its focus on core markets in Southeast Asia. But while the airline operation turns inward, the group’s e-commerce operation is gambling on expansion.

Tripadvisor CEO Dismisses Concerns Over Rivals Amazon, Airbnb and Klook in the Experiences Business: Tripadvisor CEO Steve Kaufer may be underestimating the threat competitors pose to its tours and activities business, a segment the company may see as its largest opportunity. But it’s true that Airbnb is only going after a small slice of that market for now, and Amazon’s intentions are unclear.

Mexican Short-Term Rental Startup Casai Raises $48 Million Led by Andreessen Horowitz: Venture capitalists rarely bet on Mexico’s travel startups. But Casai’s 80 percent average occupancy rates in August and September must’ve helped it woo top-tier investor Andreessen Horowitz.

The Big Questions Facing Asia’s Travel Economies in 2021 and Beyond: Is Asia is still the future of travel, for itself and for the world at large, in a global economy & consumer behavior restructured by the pandemic?

Amex GBT Pushes Ahead Into Automated Bookings With a Chatbot Acquisition: This deal makes sense. With fewer consultants on the horizon, use some tried-and-tested artificial intelligence to take the strain and help employees book their own tickets.

GetYourGuide Lays Off Staff as the Experiences Sector Faces Uncertainty: Ugh. The Berlin-based startup had avoided layoffs until now thanks in part to hefty pre-crisis funding.

Justice Department Very Close to Addressing Some of the Travel Industry’s Google Problems: If the U.S. Department of Justice indeed takes imminent steps to begin the process of leveling the playing field for Google’s travel advertisers and competitors in other verticals, the size of the impact would depend on the specifics. There will be a lot of wrangling — and this could be the beginning of the beginning.

Marriott Taps Into New Revenue Streams Amid Strong Recovery in China: Marriott’s newer initiatives and brands like Homes & Villas may find success during the pandemic, but old-fashioned revenue streams like corporate travel are still a vital factor in a full recovery.

Southwest Airlines Looks Beyond the Downturn to a Corporate Travel Recovery: Airlines need to choose their battles carefully. In Southwest’s case, will this combination of technology partnerships and airport testing be enough to bring business trips back at scale?


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Tags: airasia, genting, getyourguide, hyatt, ihg, roundups, top stories

Photo credit: Pictured is Sonesta ES Suites Chicago - Lombard. Some Sonesta properties are re-flagging. Sonesta ES Suites Chicago - Lombard

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