In Skift's top travel stories this week, we looked at changes in Air France-KLM's pricing strategies, Vrbo's attempt to woo disgruntled Airbnb hosts, Nashville's tourism strategy, and the Delta's reversal and the state of Georgia's new voter suppression law.
Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including 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.
Air France-KLM Joins Airlines Getting Ahead of Fare Wars by Mimicking Uber: Suddenly the phrase “continuous pricing” is on the lips of airline executives worldwide. The reason is that price competition will be fierce once international air travel rebounds. The new pricing method promises to help airlines extract the most money possible from passengers based on their willingness to pay.
Expedia’s Vrbo Looks to Poach Discouraged Airbnb Hosts With New Incentives: Midway through 2020, Expedia Group and its Vrbo short-term rental unit took the high road by not wanting to appear to be taking advantage of host anger at Airbnb’s early-pandemic refund policies. But when your new host recruitment plan targets “superhosts,” it’s clear those calculations are long gone.
Delta CEO Reverses Course By Now Calling Georgia Elections Law ‘Unacceptable’: In the latest chapter of what has become a public relations nightmare for Delta Air Lines, CEO Ed Bastian, clearly bowing to pressure, forcefully condemned Georgia’s new election law. He has faced intense blowback in recent days and calls for a boycott for his initial tepid response.
Nashville’s $450 Million Downtown Investment Offers Renewed Tourism Hope: Innovating amid budget slashes, natural disasters, plus a pandemic, takes vision. With backyard tourism now on a new pedestal, plus a high vaccination rate, Nashville’s tourism execs are beginning to see their efforts bear fruit after having had some of the best tourism numbers in the country pre-pandemic.
Sonesta Built a Hotel Empire During the Pandemic: Here’s What’s Missing: Sonesta is now a major hotel company with hundreds of franchised properties and an eye toward further growth. But the big hurdle is expanding its loyalty program. Marriott’s takeover of Starwood showed the complexities of engineering loyalty across brands at a huge scale.
Are Covid Passports the Key to Reopening Events?: The European Union’s proposed digital Covid passport may soon become the norm worldwide. But will this kind of portable vaccination record also be used for access to public spaces and events? The Israeli model suggests yes, but many remain skeptical.
Longtime Holdout Alaska Airlines Joining Oneworld Signals Renewed Importance of Alliances: The airline industry was increasingly writing off global alliances before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Now, the tables appear to be turning with Alaska Airlines accelerating its membership into Oneworld despite the crisis and carriers increasingly depending on their partners for global reach.
Sabre Makes a Bold Bet It Can Simplify the Way Airlines Sell Seats: There’s an advantage to simplicity in retail. It’s worked wonders for companies like Apple, but then they’ve never had to work with airlines.
The Standard Moves From Human Touch (Tone) to Human Text With New Hotel Chat: Hotel labor groups have justifiably been concerned over the industry push in the last year to offer contactless features like mobile check-in that reduce staffing needs. The Standard’s chat function replacing calls to the front desk may be the rare tech innovation that actually helps the worker.
Is Airbnb’s Big Ad Blitz a Dud?: The impact of Airbnb’s new ad campaign seems to be underwhelming to date. But if the idea is to broaden awareness about hosting, Airbnb may be willing to play the long game.
Photo credit: An Air France A350. Parent company Air France-KLM has been fine-tuning its pricing strategies. Airbus SAS