Good morning from Skift. It's Wednesday, June 29 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 looks at how much top online travel CEOs were paid last year, TikTok as a travel agent recruitment tool, and the future of events in U.S. states that ban abortion.
Skift has published the list of the highest-paid online travel agency CEOs for 2021, and Expedia Group chief Peter Kern came out on top, taking home $296 million in total compensation, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Kern’s 2021 pay reportedly makes him the third-highest compensated CEO in the U.S. and it dwarfs that of his industry peers. Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel, the second-highest paid online travel agency CEO, took home $54 million for 2021. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky took home $120 million in 2020, which Schaal writes seems like a relatively paltry sum compared to what Kern received last year.
However, Schaal adds that comparing online travel agency CEO pay is a fruitless exercise. Kern’s 2021 compensation package — based partly on the performance of Expedia’s stock from the time he took over as CEO through the end of 2021 — covers four years, including Covid-stricken 2020, while Chesky’s pay in 2020 covered a 10-year period. In addition, the pay disclosures also reveal a wide disparity in employee compensation at major online travel agencies, especially between Booking.com and Airbnb.
We turn now to how travel companies are looking to fill staffing shortages. Instead of just increasing salaries and benefits, some corporations are getting creative in their quest to attract workers — including using TikTok as a recruitment tool, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Spain-based corporate travel agency TravelPerk is one such company. Chief Revenue Officer Jean-Christophe Taunay-Bucalo said its team in Germany suggested using TikTok to recruit travel consultants after hearing about other companies’ successful campaigns on the popular social media platform. Taunay-Bucalo added that TikTok has helped TravelPerk reach its targeted demographic of candidates between the ages of 23 and 28 since younger workers, he believes, are no longer interested in using Facebook or LinkedIn.
Finally, the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion is already having a major impact on the events industry. Andrea Doyle, the Senior Editor for Skift Meetings, reports that many planners are vowing not to conduct events in states with anti-abortion policies.
Although there is a precedent for changes in state laws causing events to move, Doyle writes the reversal of Roe v. Wade has the potential to have a huge impact with so many states being affected at once. She cited LavaCon, a conference for content strategists, as one event impacted by last week’s Supreme Court ruling. Jack Molisani, the executive director of the conference, pulled its 2023 gathering from Austin due to Texas’ trigger law banning abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
However, Doyle adds planners have to consider critical contractual obligations if they’re looking to cancel or relocate their events from states with anti-abortion laws in place. Attorney Lisa Sommer Devlin said event planners should seek legal advice before making such decisions since they could, for example, end up owing damages to a hotel in the event of a cancellation.
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