Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, Microsoft increases its internal penalty for business travel carbon emissions, large numbers of Russians head to Dubai and Maldives, and U.S. airlines struggle to fill pilot shortages.

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.

Microsoft Discourages Corporate Travel by Raising Own Carbon Fee 600 Percent: Hiking the internal penalty for business travel carbon emissions might be a huge deterrent to employees when thinking about their next trip, but it’s more a wake-up call to airlines to go greener.

Private Equity Firm Alpine to Acquire AirDNA in Short-Term Rental Data Play: This deal is the second investment in two weeks in business intelligence for the short-term rental sector, coming after startup OTA Insight’s purchase of Transparent. “Follow the data” is the new “follow the money.”

Russians Flee to Favorite Tourism Locales of Dubai and Maldives: Sanctions be damned, destinations like Dubai and Maldives continue to welcome an inflow of Russian rubles to their tourism economies

U.S. Airlines Grapple With Having No Easy Fixes for Pilot Shortages: Accepting that there is a pilot shortage in the U.S. is only the first step to fixing the problem. The next is producing more pilots but that, even with big names like Alaska and United working on it, will take several years.

Short-Term Rentals Emerging as a Preferred Lodging Choice Across Asia: As the short-term rental market grows rapidly in Asia-Pacific, all of the stakeholders involved will grow along with it. The sector is expected to remain fragmented for now, but in the coming few years as the market matures and its demand-supply equilibrium gets defined, market leaders will emerge.

Placemakr Raises $90 Million for Next-Gen Lodging Including Hotel Pop-Ups: What performs better financially than a hotel, on average? A hybrid model of lodging that mixes short-term and long-term stays, according to Placemakr. Is the startup genius? Or is it trying to do too much?

Google.com Gets Free Hotel Booking Links to Level Playing Field … A Tad: Pressure from regulators and maybe disgruntled partners prompted Google to add free booking links in search results and Maps in travel. Google certainly hasn’t leveled the proverbial playing field among advertisers and non-advertisers, but hotels and smaller online travel agencies may see some benefit.

Sonder Exec Claims Direct Traffic Is Not a Primary Objective: Just about every travel company — Sonder included — wants more direct bookings because of the lower costs and chance to build customer relationships. Still, Sonder may be at a growth stage where adding distribution channels can be an important hedge against over-reliance on the bigger ones.

Vacasa Is On Top Now But Competition Is Coming: It isn’t that Vacasa has no competition in North America in vacation rental management, but there isn’t a strong challenger at the moment after Vacasa bought out its strongest competitors over the last two years. In such a hot market, look for that void to get filled pronto.

India Needs a New Tourism Policy — Now: While India has set an ambitious, so-called [email protected] goal for tourism some two decades into the future, what’s really needed urgently right now is a long-overdue national tourism policy.

Tags: airdna, business travel, carbon emissions, climate change, corporate travel, microsoft, pilot shortage, pilots, russia, sustainability, top stories, U.S. pilot shortage

Photo credit: Microsoft is making an effort to cut down on its carbon emissions generated by business travel. efes / Wikimedia Commons