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Good morning from Skift. It's Tuesday, February 15, 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

Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses two different approaches to airline loyalty investments, the IPO of a subscription travel leader, and the retirement of a hotel industry legend.

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Episode Notes

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

While the pandemic has resulted in an unmitigated financial disaster for the aviation industry, loyalty programs emerged as enormously valuable for airlines due to their ability to generate large amounts of money and encourage repeat travel. That’s prompting some carriers to rethink new loyalty models, writes Contributor Ted Reed.

Take United Airlines and Aeromexico. United is considering selling up to 15 percent of its MileagePlus program, an action that one travel consultant told Skift could provide immediate revenue for the Chicago-based carrier. Mileage Plus is a United subsidiary that was worth $22 billion in 2020 and registered more than 5 million new members last year, a company record.

Meanwhile, Aeromexico reached a $404 million deal last week to buy back a roughly 49 percent share of its loyalty program, Club Premier from Canadian investment company Aimia. If the deal is approved by the bankruptcy court where Aeromexico is restructuring, the airline would again fully own its loyalty program, which the carrier believes would help it attract and retain lucrative business travelers.

Next, Inspirato made its public debut on Monday, putting to the test a model for subscription travel. The company, which offers vacation rentals and apartment stays worldwide, began trading on Nasdaq in a deal with a blank check company, with shares gaining as much 17 percent during the day. Inspirato’s primary focus is obtaining additional leases of luxury homes, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

CEO Brent Handler said on Monday that Inspirato, which secured more than $100 million in net proceeds via a merger with Thayer Ventures Acquisitions Corp., is focusing heavily on increasing the 425 homes currently in its portfolio, adding that Inspirato is competing in a supply-driven business against numerous five-star hotels and luxury properties on platforms such as Airbnb and Vacasa. The company also plans to invest in, among other things, improvements for its subscription technology and guest experience.

We end today with major news from Marriott. The hotel giant announced on Monday that Executive Chairman Bill Marriott plans to retire in May after more than 60 years at the company, writes Hospitality Reporter Cameron Sperance.

Marriott, who also serves as chairman of Marriott International’s board of directors, played an enormous role in turning his namesake company into a force in hospitality, having been appointed president in 1964 and CEO in 1972, a position he held for 40 years. Marriott currently has close to 8,000 hotels in its portfolio, an enormous increase from the 3,000 it had just 15 years ago.

The company also announced that its board elected Bill’s son, David, to succeed his father as chairman.

November 16, 2022
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX and Online
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Tags: aeromexico, inspirato, IPOs, loyalty, marriott, skift podcast, subscriptions, united airlines