Good morning from Skift. It's Wednesday, June 8, in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast explains Hopper’s latest fintech product, how a Florida private rail line will connect Miami and Orlando by Christmas, and Accor’s ambitions for Wojo across Africa.
Online travel agency Hopper is expanding its array of fintech products, including one that allows customers to pay a fee to leave a hotel after check-in for any reason, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Schaal writes that if guests, for example, don’t get the promised waterfront view or find dirty bed sheets, they can book a similar hotel and Hopper would pay all of the rebooking costs. Guests don’t have to leave immediately following check-in but can depart later in the stay if problems arise. A Hopper spokesperson said the average fee to obtain the leave for any reason guarantee is $30.
In addition to debuting its leave for any reason hotel offering, Hopper is expanding its cancel for any reason service to hotels as well as enabling price freezes for rental cars. The average fee for freezing the price of a car rental is also $30.
Next, private rail operator Brightline is speeding up the planned launch of trains taking passengers from Miami to Orlando. The company aims to have them up and running by Christmas, writes Airlines Reporter Edward Russell.
Wes Edens, the founder and co-CEO of Fortress Investment — Brightline’s parent company — said on Tuesday the railway operator is targeting Christmas for the launch of its Miami to Orlando service. Brightline had previously stated the line — the first high-speed passenger rail service to connect the two cities — would open early next year.
Edens described the rail line as an obvious place for private investment in passenger rail given demand projections. Russell writes that the line is expected to be a boon for tourism by enabling travelers, especially those from outside of the U.S. accustomed to riding trains, to easily visit attractions in both South and Central Florida.
We end today in Africa. Hotel chain Accor’s co-working brand Wojo is expanding to hotels on the continent, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Wojo is set to roll out co-working spaces in former French colonies throughout sub-Saharan Africa — such as the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Cameroon — after signing a deal with hotel investment platform Kasada Capital Management. Parsons writes the partnership could be attractive to digital nomads wanting to work in hotels operated by a familiar brand across West Africa. The deal also allows Kasada to operate Wojo spaces in non-Accor branded hotels.
Wojo operates co-working spaces in 100 hotels in Brazil in addition to its presence in other South American nations. Accor CEO Sebastien Bazin said at Skift Forum Europe in March that the hotel giant would look to Wojo to drive growth after the pandemic.