Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at new ways to book hotels online, Hong Kong's tourism hit, and the $1 billion deal for U.S. airports.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, July 8 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Travelers have often found booking a hotel room online challenging, in large part to vague descriptions of rooms. But some hotel companies want to make the process easier — through a customized booking process giving travelers a bundled price upfront after selecting room perks, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

InterContinental Hotels Group is one early supporter of so-called attribute-based pricing, in which a hotel provides travelers a custom price after they choose the features they want in a room — for example, a king-size bed or extra-soft pillows. About 95 percent of its properties have already completed detailed room inventory assessments to prepare for the full rollout. The company’s ultimate goal is for guests to be able to choose specific room features when booking systemwide on IHG’s network.

Although O’Neill writes many hotel leaders are wary of the shift to attribute-based pricing, a recent New York University survey indicates that luxury hotels may benefit the most from the new booking techniques. Sixty-three percent of travelers paying more than $250 a night for a room said they’re willing to pay more for preferred room features. IHG CEO Keith Barr said earlier this year that the new booking process would help increase revenue for his company’s hotel owners.

Next, the Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday it’s distributing $1 billion to 85 U.S. airports in its first round of grants as part of the Biden administration’s infrastructure law. However, airport executives view the amount as insufficient for major infrastructure projects, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift band.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg hailed the grants as a major step toward improving airport terminals. But industry leaders such as Kevin Burke, the North American CEO of advocacy group Airports Council International, believe $1 billion is not enough, considering the amount of money needed to finance terminal projects across the U.S. The FAA has received more than 650 applications requesting $14 billion worth of funding for airport improvements.

We conclude today in Hong Kong, which — unlike many destinations — has not significantly lifted travel restrictions in recent months. But it’s looking at ways to ease its cumbersome entry rules to boost a hard hit economy, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Hong Kong’s strict Covid protocols, which require visitors to quarantine in a hotel for seven days after arriving, have not only hit its tourism industry hard, but also helped lead to an economic downturn. Hong Kong’s gross domestic product decreased 4 percent in the first quarter of 2022 from the same period last year.

But Bhutia writes that Hong Kong’s newly-elected chief executive John Lee seems to be a man on a mission. Lee has managed to end, in his first week in office, a flight ban that restricted airlines from flying into the territory. He also said that Hong Kong would consider shortening hotel quarantine periods for incoming travelers to five days.

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Tags: hong kong, ihg, infrastructure, politics, skift podcast