Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, IHG makes further inroads in the luxury sector, the travel industry grapples with the prolonged absence of Chinese visitors, 2021 emerges as the year of travel companies going public, and the trend of tour operator mergers continues.

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.

IHG’s Latest Hotel Brand Puts It Neck-and-Neck With Marriott for Luxury: All the major hotel companies see upside in pushing into the high-end sector. IHG zeroing in on independent luxury hotels is a smart strategy to rack up rooms growth against the competition beyond the tough-to-crack luxury markets in the U.S. and China.

Imaging Travel Without Outbound Chinese Tourists: China’s prolonged absence from global tourism could be impacting more than tourism revenues. Yet, geopolitics aside, Chinese consumer demand for long-haul travel is still alive and well, and it’s getting stronger.

Why 2021 is the Year of the Travel IPO: So far this year, a dozen travel companies went public or made plans to do so. A couple of them may shine. But the odds are stacked against this year’s IPOs, on average, over the long term. Find out why.

How ‘Traveling Offices’ Could Help Reignite Corporate Travel: Few companies so far are touring the globe with so-called traveling offices, but they’re about to become the perfect antidote to remote ennui.

Airport Lounges Prep for a Healthier Breed of Business Traveler: This could be a long-term shift in behavior, but don’t rule out more corks popping if international corporate travel, and all its paid-for perks, fully bounces back.

Hilton, Marriott and IHG Are Making Affordable Brands Development Priorities: Luxury and lifestyle hotels may be the shiniest assets in a hotel company’s portfolio, but investors want to be where the travelers are. That means pumping money into more affordable offerings like Hilton’s Tru, IHG’s Holiday Inn, and Marriott’s Fairfield Inn — all concepts that snapped back fast from the pandemic.

Delta Doesn’t Mandate Vaccines for Workers But Adds $200 Surcharge for Those Unvaxxed: With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, more airlines will feel emboldened to mandate employee vaccines. Delta is trying to skirt that with higher health insurance costs for workers not vaccinated.

Microsoft Pumps $5 MIllion Into India’s Oyo Ahead of Its Planned Public Listing: A drop-in-the-ocean investment for the technology giant, but still a vote of confidence ahead of Oyo’s IPO.

Expense Startup Raises $300 Million to Target Remote Workers Doing Less Travel: Ramp is yet another fintech newcomer that plans on disrupting corporate travel and expenses. Is its automated twist enough to help it stand out in a saturated market?

New Zealand’s Active Adventures Acquires U.S. Tour Operator: Not surprising that the private equity-backed Active Adventures decided to buy Austin Adventures to fill its geographic and inventory gaps. Expect more mergers as tour operators look to consolidate their marketing efforts during the pandemic.

45 Percent of Travel Markets Say Ad Spending to Pre-Pandemic Level Until at Least 2025: A survey of travel marketers has uncovered a fresh eagerness to experiment with new methods. But the budgets for these new ways to advertise will be slow to return to 2019 levels.

Major Chinese Hotel Company Dampens Recovery Outlook for Remainder of Year: Finally, a hotel leadership team is honest and admits the Delta variant is a real threat on the hotel industry’s recovery. Huazhu’s candor is something the C-suites at Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt should replicate.

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Tags: china, corporate travel, ihg, ipo, top stories

Photo Credit: A room in a IHG property in Chengdu, China Matt@CTU / Flickr