Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It's Friday, January 28, 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 JetBlue’s 5G worries and its expansion plans, IHG CEO’s confidence in hospitality over technology, and staff shortages at events and meetings.



Episode Notes

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

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes on Thursday issued an ominous warning about the potential for more flight disruptions related to the 5G wireless rollout. The remarks were striking in that they countered what American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said last week when he assured that the worst of the crisis was behind. Hayes spoke on JetBlue’s earnings call.

Airlines Reporter Edward Russell writes that despite expressing optimism that government agencies, airlines and wireless companies could eliminate safety risks the rollout poses, Hayes said that issues related to the wireless networks haven’t gone away yet. Not every U.S. carrier has taken the necessary steps to certify that aircraft can operate near 5G transmitters in bad weather, which is causing flight cancellations.

Meanwhile, JetBlue has ambitious expansion plans — especially in the northeastern U.S. The carrier plans to schedule roughly 300 departures from the three major New York-area airports this year.

We turn now to the possibility of technology increasingly reshaping the business operations of major hotels. But while some major CEOs believe low-cost technology platforms could upend business for many hotels, IHG Hotels & Resorts CEO Keith Barr isn’t too worried about a tech disruption at his company, writes Hospitality Reporter Cameron Sperance.

Kayak CEO Steve Hafner said earlier this month at Skift’s Megatrends event that tech-reliant platforms as well as short-term rental company Sonder could disrupt the hotel industry — especially as owners still hit hard by the pandemic are looking to cut costs and conduct business more efficiently. Kayak is launching into hotels. But Barr told Skift that hotel companies offer owners certain tools that tech executives can’t, citing IHG’s technical technical services organization that assists owners renovate their properties.

Finally, the events industry continues to face numerous challenges, including inflation and supply chain issues. But perhaps the biggest one is the ongoing staffing shortages at hotels and venues that are making running events difficult, writes Contributor Maria Lenhart for EventMB, a Skift brand.

A recent EventMB survey revealed a third of event managers reported facing challenges from staffing shortages. One industry executive said a lack of staff at venues has prevented her company from planning the elaborate shows it had done in the past while another expressed frustration about delayed responses from vendors.

But coping mechanisms for staffing shortages do exist. Several industry executives recommend informing attendees in advance about difficulties such as reduced service at a hotel, which would greatly decrease the likelihood of participants being upset about challenges they might encounter at events. In addition, one executive said the industry needs to create programs with the venue and experience in mind and stop complaining about what difficulties might exist.

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Tags: ihg, jetblue airways, meetings and events, skift podcast

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