Good morning from Skift. It's Wednesday, July 6 in New York City. Here's what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at a new approach to improving guest experience, SAS’s decent into bankruptcy, and the backlash against more business travel.
Scandinavian airline SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. on Tuesday, following a lengthy dispute over aircraft leases, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
SAS Chief Financial Officer Erno Hildén said the airline decided to file for bankruptcy after it was unable to obtain concessions from stakeholders such as lessors, labor unions and planemaker Airbus. CEO Anko van der Werff had threatened in May to file for bankruptcy if SAS couldn’t obtain improved terms from lessors on its majority-leased aircraft. The carrier leased 63 of 100 jets at the time of the Chapter 11 filing, according to Hildén’s statement to a U.S. bankruptcy court.
Hildén added that SAS has not seen corporate or long-haul international travel rebound as quickly as expected after implementing its first pandemic restructuring plan in 2020. The company will continue to operate through bankruptcy, though. SAS joins carriers such as Aeromexico, Philippine Airlines and Thai Airways that have filed for bankruptcy since the start of the pandemic.
Next, hotels have long used their spa services mainly to perform body-based treatments such as massage. But Contributor Carley Thornell reports hotels are taking advantage of the boom in wellness tourism by using their spas to improve guests’ mental well-being.
Thornell cites the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico as one property eager to profit from the growing interest in spa’s wellness benefits. Nereida Amador, its director of sales and marketing, said that prospective guests are more likely to inquire about how spas can help improve their mental well-being than the hotel’s other features. Amador added that — if monthly spa bookings remain strong — the hotel would probably relocate the fitness center out of the spa space to create more space for well-being treatment.
Furthermore, Thornell writes that hotels are aiming to establish a sense of place for their guests. Rachael McCrory, the director of spa and wellness of the Grand Wailea Maui, said that creating locality can make contemporary spa programs successful, with travelers frequently expressing a desire for a sense of place during their stays. The renovated Grand Wailea includes, among other features, waterfall showers re-creating the types of rain experienced on Maui, which McCrory believes will help guests feel like they’re truly in Hawaii.
Finally, business travel has made a significant comeback in recent months as more workers are returning to offices. However, a new survey reveals many employees are unhappy about the amount of business travel they’re expected to do, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
A survey of 300 UK-based business travelers by corporate travel and expense platform SAP Concur found that 62 percent of respondents were unhappy with their current pace of business travel. A little more than a quarter also said they would quit their positions if the pace continued.
Business travelers, Parsons writes, have also expressed frustration with having to carry the burden for employees unwilling to travel. He added that business travelers feel overwhelmed because their companies are conducting pre-pandemic levels of business travel with a smaller group of employees. More than 80 percent of respondents said their company had adopted a “more travel on fewer shoulders” approach.
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