In Skift's top stories this week, Hawaii's domestic U.S. tourism roared back, Accor's CEO said the biggest hotel investment bargains are yet to come, and HomeToGo could go public in a blank-check-company deal.
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.
Tourism Roars Back in Hawaii But It Looks Very Different As New Challenges Surface: Experts say Hawaii’s tourism officials are making a genuine effort to build back better, but this is where the rubber meets the road: Who will tackle Hawaii’s overcrowding problem? And with legislators aiming to slash Hawaii Tourism Authority’s funding and authority, how will a majority domestic tourism market impact Hawaii’s travel industry?
Lessons From an Executive Who Packed Up His Family to Travel Non-Stop During the Pandemic: South Florida businessman and his family took a calculated risk to continue flying throughout the pandemic while working remotely. If including families on business trips is what the future of business travel entails, airlines need to pay attention.
Digital Nomads — U.S. Market Analysis: New Skift Research: Remote work is here to stay and will have a dramatic impact on the travel industry as Americans rethink their relationship between work and travel.
Las Vegas High-Speed Rail Line Next in U.S. if Brightline Gets Its Way: Brightline wants to make sure that private companies have equal access to the billions of dollars in new passenger rail funds proposed by President “Amtrak Joe” Biden. That could allow the railroad to speed up work on the country’s next high-speed rail line between Las Vegas and Southern California.
Accor CEO Claims Biggest Pandemic Hotel Investment Bargains Are Still to Come: Big, global hotel companies weren’t exactly pandemic success stories. However, they still want to market the notion there is more value in a global network than going it alone as an independent operator. Getting left out of the expected summer travel boom is what it will take for smaller operators to accept that logic.
Will Phuket’s Messy Opening Be the Spark Thailand’s Tourism Recovery Needs?: Booking data suggests a modest outcome for Thailand’s reopening this summer, but it gets better in winter. For international arrivals volume to be amazing again, that’ll take some time, probably two years.
Vacation Rental Manager VTrips Ramps Up Dealmaking and Mulls Going Public: VTrips all but outright says that it’s more profitable than its larger rival Vacasa. But we’ll only know for sure if they both file to go public.
Lakestar Plans to Take HomeToGo Public in $1.2 Billion Bet on Vacation Rental Search: Who said investors no longer want to bet on consumer-facing travel startups that compete with Google? HomeToGo is in talks to go public via a blank-check company owned by Lakestar. It’ll be an approximately $1.2 billion deal, sources tell Skift.
Airbnb Edges Expedia Brand in Online Travel’s Top TV Ad Spenders so Far in 2021: Both Airbnb and Expedia.com are leaning into U.S. TV advertising in their biggest campaigns in years. Many millennials may not watch traditional TV these days, but the medium is still an important part of brands’ advertising mix.
Visa-Backed Startup Nium Announces Acquisition to Dig Deeper Into Travel Payments: There are more signs of confidence that travel’s making a comeback, with outsider Nium now wanting a slice of the payments action by buying Ixaris.
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Photo credit: The sands of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu are shown with only a few tourists in this 2001 file photo. Hawaii tourism is roaring back in 2021. Ronen Zilberman / Bloomberg