Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, January 12, in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses how online travel IPOs and SPACs are underperforming, Ecuador’s attempts to force transparency on online travel booking companies, and Denver Airport’s overdue (and expensive) renovations.

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Episode Notes

Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

Many online travel companies have sought to make an enormous splash when they debut as public companies either through initial public offerings or mergers with blank check companies. But many of those startups have ended up being overvalued, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal in this week’s Online Travel Briefing. Schaal examines eight new short-term rental, travel tech, and rideshare companies that went public last year whose previous private valuations ended up being largely overstated. One example is U.S.-based property management company Vacasa. It announced last July it would go public in a $4.5 billion deal with a blank check company. But as of last week, its market cap stood at $1.7 billion.

We head to Ecuador next. The country’s tourism ministry has reformed the bylaw regulating its online travel agencies in an effort to bring about more transparency to the industry, writes Contributor Paula Krizanovic. The updated bylaw includes new requirements for such companies, a major one being having a physical office, which one official said would help prevent embezzlement. In addition, at least percent of the staff of travel agencies must have a degree in tourism or a related field while such companies must implement security measures and data protection for online purchases.

We finish today with some long, overdue news about Denver International Airport. It can finally complete long overdue renovations of its iconic terminal building thanks to an extra $1 billion in funding for the project, writes Airlines Reporter Edward Russell. The Denver City Council approved the funds on Monday, which will allow the airport to begin work on the third and final phase of its Great Hall project. Its approval comes at a hefty price tag — more than $2 billion before any additional cost overruns, which will be at least three times higher than originally budgeted. However, local officials have said the renovations are needed as the Great Hall project is considered crucial for security and any future growth at the Denver International. The airport, which anticipates recovering to pre-Covid passenger levels this year, is expected to grow as both United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have signed leases for additional gates.

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Tags: denver, ecuador, ipo, skift podcast, spac, vacasa

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