In Skift’s top stories this week, a legal battle between Southwest and Skiplagged continues, U.S. airlines are a mess this summer, and hotels see first growth since the pandemic.
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.
Flight Discounter Skiplagged Asks Federal Court to Tell Southwest Airlines to Back Off: Notorious litigator Southwest Airlines is targeting a sometimes-legally agile Skiplagged. Instead of offering Southwest fare information for hidden-city flights, Skiplagged may find that those Southwest fares have gone missing.
Emirates Rolls Out Instant Direct Payment Method for Travel Bypassing Credit Card Issuers: This tech move is part of a broader shakeup. Travel companies are looking to bypass credit card networks with “alternative payments” to slash processing fees.
Oyo Hotels Eliminates U.S. and China as Focus for Growth: Critics have been saying for years that Oyo needed to get its house in order and to tamp down on its reckless growth plans. Whether that actually happens or not will become clear over the next year or two.
TravelPerk’s Acquisition of a Rival Travel Agency Is Backed by This Secretive Hedge Fund: It’s hard to say how far TravelPerk can go buying the UK’s Click Travel, as it limits expansion to a mostly domestic market. But then its new investor has a reputation for spotting opportunities earlier than most.
Soho House’s Parent Discloses Brand Growth Plan During IPO Roadshow: Membership Collective Group’s IPO throws major fuel on the idea that members-only clubs have a future post-pandemic. While there may be opportunities in newer brands like The Ned and Scorpios, it is the mature Soho House that is the bread-and-butter to global expansion.
Vrbo Adds Hotels to Fill In Vacation Rental Gaps: Vrbo was leaving money on the proverbial table by sticking with whole homes. That seems to be changing, but it remains to be seen how far Vrbo will meander into hotels and other inventory types.
U.S. Airlines Are Failing Passengers This Summer: It Could Have Been Worse: U.S. airlines took tens of billions in government bailouts. Now, many are having trouble delivering basic services to their consumers. It is a bad look, but it does not mean the bailouts were the wrong idea. Whether you like it or not, airlines are special. People rely on them, and the government had no choice.
U.S. Hotels Eclipse Pre-Pandemic Performance for First Time: This is more of a symbolic than substantive win for U.S. hotels. That said: growth is growth, and operators should be happy.
The 3 Big Asks to Restart Global Travel From U.S. Travel Leaders: With new spikes in tourist hotspots such as Mallorca and where vaccines are lagging such as Indonesia, it’s a shaky argument to make that international travel restrictions don’t help contain Covid. Vaccine equity will continue to shape the return of international travel.
Canada’s Atlantic Provinces Once United Now Divided on Summer Tourism Reopening: With vaccinations in the picture, who needs a bubble? The competition is heating up for Canadians’ travel dollars this summer. But only a U.S. border reopening would make a real difference after a devastating year.
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Photo credit: Flight Discounter Skiplagged Asks Federal Court to Tell Southwest Airlines to Back Off. Southwest airplane pictured. Southwest