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Good morning from Skift. It's Monday, March 7, 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 describes how travel brands are responding to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, how hotel companies posted better than expected hiring numbers in February, and duty of care concerns from business travel planners.



Episode Notes

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is driving companies in many sectors, including travel, to pause or cancel business operations in the world’s largest country. Although most large travel corporations have announced in recent days that they’re retreating from Russia, several others are still continuing business in the country, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

While Airbnb and Expedia Group are among the most prominent travel companies to announce their refusal to do business in Russia, numerous others — including major tour operators and Tripadvisor — are also pulling out of the country. Tripadvisor is blocking attempts to book vacation rentals in Russia and will halt doing business with Russia-backed tourism boards.

However, multiple prominent travel companies haven’t withdrawn from Russia yet. Several Chinese and Middle Eastern carriers — including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways — are currently operating flights to and from the country. In addition, Booking Holidays as well as numerous hotel brands are still offering accommodations in Russia.

We turn now to better-than-expected news for the U.S. hotel industry ahead of the busy summer season. The sector recorded strong job growth numbers in February despite concerns a surge in Covid cases would dent hiring, writes Hospitality Reporter Cameron Sperance.

Hotels added 23,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in the overall U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels, accounted for 179,000 new jobs, which is more than a quarter of all new hirings the U.S. recorded last month.

Sperance attributes the good news from February’s job report to hotel executives making increased efforts to make industry jobs more attractive, including raising wages and better marketing its mobility opportunities. However, hotels still have a long way to go to hit pre-Covid figures as employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is still 9 percent below the mark recorded at the start of the pandemic.

Finally, global travel managers are devoting a lot of time to addressing concerns from employees such as health and safety and sustainable travel options. But what else is on their mind? Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons reports global travel managers are increasingly having to answer three questions from employees.

A concern many employees have is what will their travel experiences be like if they no longer enjoy certain perks they’ve gotten accustomed to. Parsons writes many flyers will find they’ve been inadvertently downgraded, which one executive said would worry many employees. In addition, corporate travel managers are having to answer if there are alternatives to using phone calls to accept bookings. One executive said conducting business by phone is becoming more difficult in the modern world of remote work, where many workers are increasingly engaged in Zoom meetings.

The third question travel managers must answer is whether they can be more flexible in arranging hotels for employees. Sean Parham, Snapchat’s global travel manager, said while his company has always had its preferred partners, it’s seeing more requests to add more hotels to its program due to Snapchat having employees in so many different locations.

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Tags: business travel, corporate travel, duty of care, labor, russia, skift podcast, ukraine

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