Good morning from Skift. It's Tuesday, February 22, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses Expedia’s recent earnings and what they mean for the industry, advance planning by Australian tour operators, and how one destination is rethinking climate change.
Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Expedia Group is one of the world’s largest online travel businesses, and its financials often serve as a bellwether for the rest of the industry. Executive Editor Dennis Schaal dug into Expedia’s newly released annual report to discover some surprises. Propelled by sales of travel insurance and car rental bookings, Expedia Group’s “other” service category in 2021 represented 15 percent of total revenue — and that was five times larger than flights and more than double the company’s advertising and media business.
With the sale of Expedia’s corporate travel business Egencia to American Express Global Business Travel in November, the “other” category is likely to decrease as a percentage of total revenue because Egencia’s fee revenue won’t pump it up. Expedia breaks down its business into four service categories: Lodging, retail, advertising and media, and “other.”
Next, Australia reopened on Monday after one of the strictest and longest border lockdowns of the pandemic, triggering losses there for travel businesses of some $72 billion in revenue. The long-awaited loosening of restrictions was something tour operators had plenty of time to prepare for.
Operators catering to tours for overseas guests are developing new itineraries showcasing rural areas of Australia and destinations they largely hadn’t featured before to attract the growing number of travelers worldwide eager to visit less-crowded spaces. Research conducted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization revealed that rural tourism would emerge as a major travel trend shaping up in 2022, writes Editorial Assistant Rashaad Jorden.
Matt Berna, the North American managing director for Intrepid Travel, said that many of the 21 offerings that his company created during the pandemic take guests away from popular tourist trails and include activities such trekking and cycling outside of urban areas.
Finally, we end with one destination marketing group that is taking its role in mitigating climate change seriously. The Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) is placing climate change front and center, pushed in part by the return of wildfires to Oregon’s coastline, followed by a global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and record crowds heading to its great outdoors.
A signatory of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency initiative and thereafter the Glasgow Declaration, OCVA is now blazing a path from which other U.S. tourism offices could learn, as climate continues to disrupt America’s travel industry, not to mention an ongoing pandemic.
The destination marketing group’s journey to figuring out climate action from a tourism perspective has taken it on a path of collaboration and innovation — including hiring its first-ever climate scientist, writes Global Tourism Reporter Lebawit Lily Girma.
“It was incredibly overwhelming to go from zero to what is this action plan,” said Patty Martin, a science consultant with OCVA, whose holds a Ph.D. in immunology and transitioned into climate science work.