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Good morning from Skift. It's Monday, January 24, 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 the impact Omicron is having on the hotel industry globally, Yatra’s moves to protect its IPO, and why some hotels chains embrace bad bathroom design.



Episode Notes

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

Omicron has hit many sectors of the travel industry hard, with until-now a lingering effect on hotels. But now the world’s three largest hotel markets have experienced recent downturns in performance due to the variant, writes Hospitality Reporter Cameron Sperance.

Hotel revenue per available room — the sector’s most important performance metric — fell roughly 18 percent in the U.S. from the same week two years ago, according to industry data company STR. It was down 45 percent in China and 46 percent in Europe from the same period three years ago, which analysts use as a benchmark for both areas as each felt the impact of Covid earlier in 2020 than the U.S. China and Europe’s worse performances are attributed to the two regions having implemented more restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.

While a small drop in hotel performance was expected due to the first few weeks of the new year not being popular for leisure travel, one analyst said a bigger concern was the absence of large-scale business travel, which is a result of Omicron.

We turn next to India. Yatra, the country’s largest corporate travel agency, has taken a major step to settle a dispute that could have derailed its plans to go public, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

Yatra has appointed Roshan Mendis, an executive at travel technology company Sabre, to serve on its board as an independent director. The move comes six months after Australian firm Maguire Investment Trust published an open letter calling for an operational overhaul at Yatra. Maguire, which owns roughly 7 percent of Yatra, had expressed frustration with the travel agency’s corporate governance, including not having a corporate travel expert on its board — a problem solved with the appointment of Mendis.

Yatra aims to go public in India in the first half of this year. The company posted a loss of about $2 million for its 2022 second quarter, which covered the three months ending on September 30 of last year.

We end today looking at a trend in hotel design. Much to the dismay of many travelers, more properties will likely feature an open bathroom — meaning a lack of privacy when using the toilet, writes Contributor Carley Thornell.

Kate Mooney, the founder of Scotland-based Occa Design, said that properties designed with modern and minimalist aesthetics will probably become more prevalent post-pandemic, adding that cleanliness will become a bigger priority for hotels. Not having a shower door significantly cuts down the average cleaning time of a guest room.

In addition, hotels will likely feature more open spaces going forward as an executive at UK hotel group Yotel believes simple, clean surfaces not are not only more aesthetically pleasing but present less of a challenge for housekeeping crews.

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Tags: coronavirus recovery, design, IPOs, sabre, skift podcast, yatra

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