Skift Take

In Skift's top travel stories this week, we covered Marriott's superapp strategy in China and Southeast Asia, Expedia's loyalty push, three timely tourism campaigns, and the United CEO's thinking about a travel recovery inflection point.

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 Leans Into Superapps to Build Up Loyalty: The likes of Alibaba, Grab, and Rakuten have billions of members. If hotels can tap into a just fraction of their users, and convert them to their own loyalty schemes, they’ll be mighty happy.

Expedia Adds 25 Million Travelers to Loyalty Program in Challenge to Tripadvisor Subscription Plan: Expedia wants to help people find a new travel companion — namely Expedia. We’ve heard online travel agencies and others vow to become to become less price-oriented before, but fickle deal hunters will make that a tough pledge to fulfill.

3 New Tourism Ad Campaigns Striking the Right Tone for These Times: The rise of responsible travel messaging in marketing is a welcome next step, as destinations prepare for the return of large summer crowds locally, and international travelers keep a close eye on their favorite locales. Now’s also the time to warn the ugly tourists.

U.S. Airports Generate Revenue After Losing Billions During the Pandemic: The pandemic has taken a toll on airports. If airports are to thrive, they need to get creative — and fast — to increase revenue streams.

Apple’s Privacy Update May Cripple Some Travel Ad Campaigns: Travel marketers need to fine-tune their digital advertising tactics in response to Apple’s imminent privacy move. New data from adtech firm Criteo underscores the opportunities as well as the challenges.

Ex-Holiday Inn CEO Behind a $500 Million Plan to Luxe Up Troubled Hotels: Another day, another pandemic-born hotel investment group. But Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts is after a type of hotel product not many investors crave, which could provide more of an open playing field.

Why Hilton Grand Vacations Upped the Bid in $1.4 Billion Timeshare Takeover: Major travel companies like Hilton Grand Vacations are pumping millions, if not billions, of dollars into the idea travelers favor the familiarity of a brand. If it pays off, the vacuum of boutique offerings will be the next travel investment opportunity.

United CEO Calls an Inflection Point — For Real, This Time: Airline executives like to talk about “inflection points,” but throughout the pandemic they have seen their hopes dashed as the virus resurges. United CEO Scott Kirby is committed this time.

Utah’s Improbable Pandemic Tourism Boost From State Support and Higher Tax Revenues: The Utah legislature’s bet on the tourism economy placed the state ahead of the recovery compared to its neighbors in the American West. As more vaccinated Americans flock to its big outdoor spaces this year, Travel Utah’s challenge remains managing and educating those crowds on responsible travel.

New CDC Guidelines Won’t Entirely Close the Curtains on Hotel Hygiene Theater: Just because the risk is low for surface spread of coronavirus doesn’t mean hotels are going to back away from door seals and hourly lobby cleanings. There’s still a psychological and confidence factor at play in bringing back more travelers.

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Tags: airports, expedia, marriott, roundups, united airlines

Photo credit: A Marriott sign in China for the Beijing City Wall on April 8, 2013. Marriott is partnership with Alibaba and are large platforms in Asia. Bernhard Wintersperger /

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