Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, numerous large corporate travel agencies have made big changes since the pandemic, unions representing pilots at two U.S. airline giants seek exemptions from vaccine mandates, and two major U.S. hotel management companies announce plans to merge.

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.

Comparing Corporate Travel’s Biggest Agencies Before and After the Pandemic: New shapes and sizes for 2022, certainly, but more importantly a new set of priorities that may be a cause for concern for the smaller agencies left on the playing field.

American and Southwest Pilots Seek Vaccine Mandate Exemptions: Pilots at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines claim special status in seeking exemptions from President Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates. The move pits the administration’s drive to boost vaccination rates against a potentially bumpy holiday travel season.

Amadeus Signs Another Hotel Giant to Its Enterprise Software Platform: Amadeus has waited for years for a global hotel company to buy into its next-gen central reservation system. A win could signal sales momentum among enterprise clients.

2 of the Largest U.S. Hotel Management Companies Are Merging: The bigger-is-better mantra of hotel management companies is a driving force behind the Benchmark-Pyramid merger. But this still doesn’t come into the same league as mega-manager Aimbridge Hospitality.

Sonesta to Offer U.S. Hotel Franchising for First Time to Keep Growth on Fast Track: Failed deals between a Boston real estate owner and Marriott and IHG as well as the Red Lion parent company acquisition gave Sonesta an early leg up in its growth ambition. Now comes the hard part: organic growth.

Pandemic Twist Emerges on Bookings for Hotels in Tussle With Online Resellers: Hotel companies have broadly resisted using aggregators such as Expedia and for online sales so far during the recovery because of somewhat surprising factors. Yet the temptation remains.

Wellness Vacations Are the Next Big Splurge for Global Travelers: Yoga retreats will always have a place, but it’s this expanded consumer definition of wellness activities that presents big opportunities ahead for the travel industry.

Brand USA Ready to Welcome Restless Global Travelers Ahead of a Funding Boost: The pandemic has highlighted Brand USA’s role in driving international visitor demand and tourism’s importance as the country’s #2 export. Will the global fascination with coming to America transcend politics once borders reopen? Brand USA is betting on it.

12 Can’t-Miss Quotes From Skift Global Forum: The global travel industry still faces uncertainty in its recovery. But one thing is certain from all the interviews (and sometimes opposing viewpoints) at Skift Global Forum: How the world travels won’t look like it did two years ago.

Blackstone Claims Most Profitable Asset Sale With $5.6 Billion Cosmopolitan Deal: This record-breaking profit on the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas proves Sin City continues to be Blackstone’s playground for dealmaking.


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Tags: american airlines, corporate travel, southwest airlines, top stories

Photo credit: The large-scale return of business travel is still uncertain. MagicDesk / Pixabay

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