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Good morning from Skift. It's Thursday, January 20, 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 looks at the annual Skift Megatrends report, Sonder’s debut on the Nasdaq exchange, and the reason universities and students want study abroad programs to resume.



Episode Notes

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

Numerous themes will define the new year in travel, and they’re the subject of Skift Travel Megatrends 2022, a report unveiled on Wednesday featuring information gathered by Skift editors, reporters and research analysts. This is Skift’s 10th annual megatrends report.

One of the 14 themes appearing in Megatrends is uncertainty being the new certainty in travel as industry leaders are unsure when a complete recovery will take place, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. As future crises will likely arise, complicating any timeframe for a full rebound, companies will need to be agile in order to experiment with new ways of doing business, believes Booking Holidays CEO Glenn Fogel.

Another theme is the boom many rural destinations have experienced in visitor arrivals. Several national parks in the U.S. and Canada have attracted record-breaking visitation as large numbers of travelers sought respite from crowded locations during the height of the pandemic. But those huge crowds are putting many rural locations at risk of suffering from overtourism, writes Global Tourism Reporter Lebawit Lily Girma.

We turn next to Sonder going public. The San Francisco-based travel startup made an underwhelming stock market debut on Wednesday, reports Schaal.

Sonder, which operates hotels and leases apartments for short-term rentals, was trading around 5 percent lower on the Nasdaq than its opening price in the first couple of hours. It recently merged with blank check company Gores Metropoulos II, a transaction that closed on Tuesday.

San Francisco-based Sonder announced in October that it would become a public company with a valuation of a little less than $2 billion. That announcement was far from the company’s only big news in the latter half of 2021 — it also added more than 25 buildings in various cities to its U.S. portfolio, including Boston, Miami and Philadelphia.

We end today looking at the resumption of large-scale educational travel, an enormously lucrative industry. Education bodies are facing a use-it-or-lose it scenario because academics need to take field trips or risk losing funding. So universities have been accelerating the relaunch of their travel programs this year, writes Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

One industry executive said the move to resume sending academics abroad has been driven in large part because their work is travel dependent and unable to be completed remotely. In addition, numerous universities are pushing to send students overseas again so they can complete their course requirements, which many institutions believe will help make their schools more attractive in the eyes of prospective students.

However, universities making plans to reboot student travel face several challenges, one of which is China — a popular study abroad destination — hasn’t reopened its borders. Furthermore, schools are dealing with how to provide emotional support to students who may be experiencing mental stress due to living abroad in the midst of the pandemic.


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Tags: IPOs, Megatrends 2022, skift podcast, sonder, student travel

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