Skift Take

Good morning from Skift. It's Wednesday, June 15, in Puerto Rico (where the Skift Team is meeting). 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 looks at the best tourism board websites, some unanswered questions from Choice Hotel’s purchase of Radisson, and one corporate travel giant’s approach to hiring.

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Episode Notes

Official tourism websites often provide consumers the first glimpse of prospective travel destinations, with tourism boards devoting more resources to creating eye-catching material to attract potential visitors. So with the importance of such platforms growing, Contributor Mary Ann Ha offers up Skift’s 10 best designed official tourism websites for 2022.

Ha writes that tourism organizations have realized that websites of yesteryear — with contained features such as paragraphs of information and depressing color palettes — simply won’t appeal to consumers with increasingly short attention spans. The best-designed tourism websites, in her view, hit the spot visually and navigationally as well as capture what travelers want. Visit California’s website, in particular, contains features that Ha believes speak to a traveler’s impression of the state.

But destinations are developing other innovative methods to lure potential visitors. Cape Town is one such example, with the South African city launching a virtual game tourism campaign to give prospective travelers a taste of the location.

We shift now to the Choice Hotels International’s planned acquisition of Radisson Hotel Group Americas, announced earlier this week. While Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill reports the $675 million deal has thus far gotten positive reviews, it does leave the industry with some major unanswered questions.

One of those questions, O’Neill writes, is whether Choice will keep the nine brands that it would acquire from Radisson. Although some analysts have questioned if Choice will decide to do so, a Choice spokesperson indicated the company would keep those nine brands, stating they would help Choice make inroads in the upscale hospitality sector. But O’Neill adds Choice’s plan to expand into the upscale sector is harder than it looks, with one hotel executive citing the difficulties of entering the lifestyle sector as a point of reference.

In addition, it remains to be seen whether Choice’s acquisition of Radisson’s brands will lead to more mergers in the hotel industry. Industry consultant Max Starkov believes so, describing the deal as part of the consolidation avalanche that will take part after the pandemic. Starkov predicts technological pressures will drive hotel brands to seek deals with tech savants.

Finally, widespread labor shortages have been a significant barrier to travel companies’ efforts to return to pre-pandemic metrics. But corporate travel agency CWT believes its hiring strategy will help the company get back into growth mode, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

CWT Chief Customer Officer Nick Vournakis said his company, which signed a $1.5 billion refinancing deal last September, recognized it needed to be aggressive in the competition for skilled workers. So CWT has invested in technology to enable its frontline staff to work remotely, and it’s also making plans to hire more frontline staff to answer telephone calls. Vournakis said very few digital tools are effective in making changes to trips and itineraries, adding that improving CWT’s frontline staff would support the resurgence in travel.

Tags: choice hotels, cmos, cwt, radisson, skift podcast, tourism