Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, luxury hospitality fails to live up to its longtime grandeur, corporate travel thrives in the first quarter, and Expedia Group appoints a Google executive to plot its advertising strategy.

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.

Luxury Hospitality Is Losing Its Mystique: You might not have noticed, but luxury hospitality is in the middle of a major reboot. Old, storied reputations mean nothing anymore if today’s service is lost. The market is a blank slate where all relationships, preferences, and loyalty need to be re-examined and rebuilt by luxury travelers. Brands have to re-think their value propositions.

Grenada’s New Diaspora Loyalty Program Could Be Model for the Caribbean: We’ve long said that the diaspora remains an untapped and lucrative “visiting friends and relatives” market for the Caribbean. Working out the kinks of the program by beefing up the incentives and committing to the effort beyond the recovery phase could pay off long term for Grenada.

Expedia Hires Google Travel Advertising Director Rob Torres: The pandemic waylaid Expedia Group’s 2019 vow to reduce its reliance on advertising through Google. If Expedia seeks to resume working on that goal, it now has a key member of Google’s travel advertising leadership to help lead the effort.

Uber to Add Flights, Rail and Hotel Bookings to Its UK App: We shouldn’t be too surprised, considering Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi was previously the CEO of Expedia Group. But technical questions will remain over how a ride-hailing and food delivery app can transform into a superapp so quickly.

CitizenM Tests Marketing Hotels in the Metaverse: What’s getting called the metaverse today is a joke. But marketers are right to run tests. The key thing to learn is how people will express their identities and status via avatars in virtual games. Future branding depends on that knowledge.

JetBlue Makes $3.6 Billion Counterbid for Spirit Airlines: Does JetBlue’s surprise bid for Spirit make sense for the carrier’s network? At first glance, Wall Street didn’t think so.

Sri Lanka’s Renewed Tourism Hopes Crushed by Doubts in Biggest Source Market: Sri Lanka’s biggest inbound market — India — is turning towards alternative destinations. The current Sri Lankan political turmoil threatens to cripple the tourism industry, which is worth more than $3.6 billion to the country and is the third largest foreign exchange earner.

Business and Group Travel Make a Stellar First Quarter Comeback: Encouraging signs from a host of companies releasing first quarter statistics, but a recurring theme is: Can it last?

Rethinking the Hotel Gym Gets a Heavy Lift: The pandemic has shifted the industry’s focus from fitness to wellness — which means reimagining investments in spaces like the hotel gym, and shared equipment.

Sonder Expands Sales Team to Tap Into Traditional Hotel Biz: Outsiders figure out what’s wrong with an industry and rightfully disrupt it. Then they learn that the disrupted industry does things a certain way for a reason. It doesn’t mean Sonder’s overall strategy is wrong, but that’s a lesson it is learning.

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Tags: bookings, business travel, citizenm, expedia, expedia group, google, grenada, group travel, hotel gyms, hotels, jetblue airways, loyalty, metaverse, sonder, spirit airlines, sri lanka, top stories, tourism, uber

Photo credit: The interior of a luxury hotel