Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, the FAA may appoint a United pilot to be its new administrator, Cuba's tourism industry struggles to reach pre-Covid figures, and IHG returns to profitability after dumping poorly performing hotels.

Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including on the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.

Will This United Pilot Be the Next FAA Administrator?: John Boccieri, a United Airlines pilot, vice commander of the Pittsburgh U.S. Air Reserve base and a former U.S. Congressman from Ohio, is one of the more intriguing names being mentioned to succeed outgoing Steve Dickson as the FAA Administrator.

6 Expedia Group Takeaways From Its Annual Report: How things change: Expedia said its sale of Egencia won’t have a major impact on operations or financials, although in years’ past the company touted Egencia as a rising star. In 2018, Egencia was its own Expedia reporting segment and accounted for 8 percent of gross bookings.

Tripadvisor Plus Is Case Study in Online Travel Hype: Less than a year ago, a Tripadvisor pitch deck about Tripadvisor Plus touted its “multibillion dollar revenue potential.” Despite the company expressing confidence in Plus when it scrapped its business model in September, Tripadvisor admitted last week “we haven’t found the product-market fit that we’re looking for.”

Cuba Struggles in Its Tourism Recovery Unlike Its Neighbors: Omicron flareups are one thing, but the travel bans for U.S. citizens put in place under President Trump and remaining thereunder Joe Biden, for the most part, are not doing Cuba’s tourism industry any favors.

IHG Returns to Profitability After Dropping Laggard Hotels: Last year was a rebuilding one for IHG, as the company trimmed off underperforming Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels from its portfolio.

Airlines Face Major Business Disruptions From Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will ripple throughout the airline industry, most immediately through high oil prices and airspace closures. But if the West and Russia trade sanctions and restrictions, easy flights between North America, Europe, and Asia could be a thing of the past.

Booking Holdings Looks to Pull Away from Airbnb on Profit Margins: As part of its “connected trip” and loyalty strategy, Booking Holdings argued it can convince hotels and other partners to offer up substantial discounts and perks, and this would spur incremental bookings. But do hotels really want to be a cog in building the brand?

Skift Forum Europe Preview: on the Right Way to Regulate Online Travel: As the vice president said, consumers do indeed have myriad choices in how to book hotels in Europe. But it is also true that wields a lot of power when it comes to the prospects for the large swath of independent hotels in the region.

Hornblower’s Private Equity Backers Help It Grow Travel Experience Ambitions: Hornblower’s private equity investor Crestview kept the faith in the experiences operator during the pandemic. Now the investor is supporting a global mergers and acquisitions strategy that could amp up the company’s momentum.

Accor CEO Says Hotel Giant Won’t Wait for Business Travel to Return: It may not have seen the largest profit of major hotel companies last year, but Accor’s swing from a multibillion-dollar loss to a multimillion-dollar profit over the span of 12 months is a major win for a company with significant exposure to Europe and other areas more dependent on international travel.

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Tags: airlines, cuba, expedia, expedia group, faa, ihg, online travel agencies, top stories, tripadvisor, united airlines

Photo credit: The Federal Aviation Administration may hire a United pilot to serve as its new administrator DirkDanielMann / Pixabay

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