Skift Take

In Skift's top travel stories this week, we covered the Expedia CEO's take on Airbnb, the Hyatt-Apple Leisure deal, two online travel veterans launching a hotel distribution network, the unpaid fines of unruly flyers, among other topics.

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.

Expedia CEO See Airbnb as ‘One-Dimensional:’  Peter Kern is correct that Expedia Group currently offers broader travel services than do Airbnb and Booking Holdings, but whether Expedia can gain ground on its rivals and can execute on its strategy are entirely different questions.

Don’t Call Us Oyo: Online Travel Veterans Launch Hotel Distribution Network With Distinct Model: Oyo made headlines for offering hotels a minimum revenue guarantee in exchange for taking control of hotel operations. Bob Diener and David Litman are doing it with a twist — trying to drive demand to select hotels to steal business from their peers in exchange for hefty margins on each sale.

Why This New Luxury Hotel in Venice Is Hopping on the NFT Frenzy: Ca’ di Dio is the first Venetian luxury hotel to offer a reservation via the trendy asset class NFT, or non-fungible token. Smart hotels everywhere are trying fresh ways to appeal to niche audiences, instead of just rely on Booking.com & company.

Hyatt’s $2.7 Billion Apple Leisure Group Acquisition Fuels European Growth Hyatt’s Apple Leisure Group acquisition gives it a major boost in its desired expansion into Europe. But it is also a shot across the bow to competitors like Marriott and Hilton as well as smaller brands. The battle is on to expand into the high-end leisure travel and all-inclusive resort sector.

Travel Tech Firm RateGain to List as a Public Company in India: RateGain, a 15-year-old travel tech firm, wants to position itself for growth post-pandemic by raising capital. Its private equity sponsor TA Associates also wants a payday, and no wonder.

Tour Operators Turn to Strategic Partnerships to Drive Post-Pandemic Business: Although several tour operators are enjoying success in pandemic-induced partnerships, why weren’t those collaborations part of the mix previously? It’s possible that many tour operators have missed out on lucrative opportunities for years by not searching for fruitful partnerships.

Southwest Business Wants to Do More Than Just Fly Corporate Travelers to Meetings: What a difference a year makes. The airline’s business travel division has, finally, added Sabre, but is also preparing to add a shopping mall-style loyalty program. Will this complete its corporate-friendly transformation?


Fines Issued to Unruly Flyers Now Top $1 Million But Has Anybody Paid Up?:
Fines for unruly passengers are rising, but without prosecutorial authority, the Federal Aviation Administration’s hands are tied. If disruptive and dangerous behavior is going to come to an end, the FAA must be given the means to make unruly passenger behavior the crime that it is. It’s time for Congress to step up to the plate.

Travel’s Fastest-Growing U.S. Small Businesses Offer a Glimpse Into These Emerging Trends: The pandemic catapulted a few niche innovations into widespread use, benefiting a few fast-moving travel businesses. Lists come and go, but pay attention to the underlying trends that will last after the crisis passes.

How 2021 Hotel M&A Is Shaping Up After the Hyatt-Apple Leisure Deal: The value of announced acquisitions this year is already three times that for the deals in all of 2020. We pulled together the top hotel acquisitions for 2021 for you by dollar amount, some deals strategic, some less so. The pace is brisk but the impact from the Delta variant could very well reverse the momentum heading into fall.

Online Travel Hopper’s Metamorphosis From Flight Selling to Fintech: Travel startup Hopper has raised $175 million in additional investment, underscoring the potential of its financial services products and offering an interesting case study in new appetites in travel for fintech. It seems very much in the cards that the company will go public by, say, 2022.

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Tags: airbnb, business travel, expedia, hyatt, luxury, mergers, RateGain, southwest

Photo Credit: Pictured is the Transcorp Hilton Abuja in Nigeria. Expedia CEO Peter Kern believes travelers will return to hotels, including those in urban areas, once the pandemic abates. Transcorp Hotels