Skift Take

In Skift's top travel stories this week, we covered Hilton's red ink, the passing of Marriott's Arne Sorenson, Tripadvisor's new subscription plan, hotel openings in Asia, and South Africa's historic equity fund.

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.

Hilton Walloped by $720 Million 2020 Loss That Pushes Hotel Giant to Permanent Cost Cuts: Hilton’s pandemic recovery plan hinges significantly on companywide cost-cutting and fewer staffers at the property level becoming a permanent way of doing business.

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson Dies After Cancer Battle: Sorenson’s passing leaves a monumental void in the hotel industry that won’t soon be filled.

South Africa Launches Historic Tourism Equity Fund That May Serve as Global Model: Work to transform diversity and inclusion, particularly in tourism, takes guts — like South Africa’s groundbreaking new public-private fund for Black-owned tourism projects. It might just be precedent-setting.

The Role of Vaccines in the Travel Rebound: Latest Skift Recovery Index: The world has become obsessed with vaccination drives, testing, and health passports. How best to reopen destinations to domestic and international visitors in coming months will be much discussed. The efficacy around all of those approaches will certainly play a central role in governments’ decision-making.

Why Hyatt Is Bullish on Return of Conventions in Second Half of 2021: Group business, if it ever bounced back, would take years to fully recover from the pandemic’s devastating impact. That was the hotel industry’s thinking for most of 2020. Hyatt leaders are now telling a different story.

Who Will Lead Marriott Next?: Marriott’s next CEO is almost certain to come from within the company’s own ranks.

How the Big 4 Hotel Chains Managed to Open 300 New Hotels Across Asia in 2020: A less unsung story than China’s growth is how the pandemic has made the rest of Asia-Pacific a gold mine for chains. Opportunities for conversions and franchising appear at their strongest ever. But the best thing? Owners with a new mindset.

Behind Tripadvisor’s Bet on a Subscription Model for a Pandemic Recovery: Even before the pandemic, Tripadvisor faced many challenges monetizing its user base. The travel platform is now turning to more user-friendly subscription models to change that. But will it be able to meet the evolving demands of travelers in a post-Covid world?

Airbnb Announces Major Global Advertising Campaign to Tout Hosting: Airbnb felt the heat in 2019, pre-Covid, when it leaned into performance marketing on Google, and didn’t get the results it hoped to achieve. In its first major campaign of 2021, Airbnb is mounting a global branding advertising blitz on YouTube (owned by Google) and television in five countries. The campaigned is geared toward expanding the ranks of hosts.

Indonesia’s Traveloka Gears Up for Possible IPO With Renewed Focus on Local Offerings: Traveloka is strengthening its local offerings with a potential public listing in its future, either through a traditional IPO or a red hot SPAC. The approach may be paying off as the company works to bolster its operations for a post-pandemic world, but how much more localization can the app offer?

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Tags: airbnb, coronavirus, hilton, hyatt, marriott, roundups, top stories, travel recovery, Traveloka, tripadvisor, vaccines

Photo credit: Hilton Grand Vacations, Las Vegas, as seen on October 14, 2019. Aaron Hockley /

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