Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It's Thursday, April 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

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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses citizenM’s metaverse marketing bid, Uber’s expansion into flights and rail, and the current state of the U.S. accommodations industry.

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Episode Notes

The accommodation sector is expected to make significant progress in its rebound this year. But the hotel recovery will likely slow the growth of the short-term rental market, writes Senior Research Analyst Varsha Arora in Skift Research’s U.S. Accommodation Sector Market Estimates 2022 report.

The report revealed the U.S. short-term rental market has been booming in recent years as its market share in the sector rose from 10.5 percent in 2018 to 18 percent three years later. But Arora writes that the expected strong comeback of the hotel industry this year will probably result in much smaller growth for the market share of short-term rentals. Short-term rentals — whether in private homes or apartments — produced roughly $58 billion in revenue in 2021.

We turn now to Uber’s efforts to create a seamless journey for travelers. The ride-hailing and food delivery app has unveiled plans to add flights, rail and hotel bookings to its platform — first in the United Kingdom, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

Uber is making rail and flight bookings available on the app later this year while the ability to make hotel reservations will come next year. The company’s decision represents a U-turn from comments CEO Dara Khosrowshahi made at Skift Global Forum, where he said Uber believed separate apps for consumers was the correct approach.

Uber’s decision to expand its offerings in the UK comes as it was granted in late March a 30-month license to operate in London.

We end today with CitizenM. The Dutch-based hotel company has announced its new marketing efforts in the metaverse, a virtual world where people interact with each other via digital means, reports Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill.

CitizenM said on Wednesday that it bought a virtual space in a game called the Sandbox, where the company hopes to connect with players, explore marketing opportunities and potentially raise money to build a hotel. The hotel chain didn’t reveal how much it’s spending on the effort, but land in the Sandbox can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

CitizenM hopes to eventually sell art certified with non-fungible tokens to obtain cryptocurrency tokens. O’Neill writes if sales of the art are popular, the proceeds could be used to build a virtual hotel. The company aims to sell roughly 2,000 NFTs, which will come with a pledge for benefits such as discounts and free drinks available at real-world citizenM properties.

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Tags: citizenm, hotels, skift podcast, skift research, superapps, uber