Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at IHG’s mix of hotel brands, Hong Kong’s airport problem, and Las Vegas’ resiliency.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, July 11 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
The InterContinental Hotel Group has long been considered a forerunner in hospitality trends, having invented the concept of a hotel loyalty program, among other breakthroughs. Contributor Sonia Menken takes an in-depth look at each of 17 brands the hotel giant has assembled that serve a wide variety of guests and hotels.
In addition to listing the four categories IHG’s brands belong to, Menken provides information about each brand’s global footprint figure, including the number of properties and hotel rooms in its portfolio. She also includes IHG’s and Skift’s takes on every brand. For example, Skift believes the InterContinental, IHG’s most famous brand, is — despite pandemic-era struggles — poised for a rebound due to the large number of hotels in its portfolio.
We head to Las Vegas next. The city’s conventions and conferences are still attracting business travelers despite international travel not yet making a full recovery, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Close to 2 million people attended conferences and events in Las Vegas from January to May this year, according to the city’s convention and visitors authority. That’s an almost 900 percent jump from the same period in 2021. Las Vegas also welcomed more than 3.4 million leisure and corporate visitors combined in May 2022 alone, a roughly 20 percent year-over-year increase.
But although all conventions Las Vegas regularly hosted prior to the pandemic have returned, attendance at such events hasn’t rebounded to pre-Covid numbers. The city’s total visitation numbers for May 2022 were 7 percent below the mark from the same timeframe three years ago.
Finally, the Hong Kong International Airport opened a long-anticipated runway for commercial use on July 8. However, that runway could become a white elephant as Hong Kong faces an uncertain future as an aviation hub, writes Jay Shabat, Senior Analyst at Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
The opening of the airport’s third runway is the culmination of a multi-decade long expansion process, Shabat writes. Hong Kong officials believed, as far back as the early 2000s, that the airport’s two runways were insufficient to accommodate the territory’s expected arrival boom. Hong Kong started construction on the third runway in 2016, with authorities envisioning no slowdown in arrival numbers by the time of its completion.
However, Shabat explains why the third runway risks becoming a white elephant. Beijing has taken greater control of Hong Kong since 2019, putting the territory’s status as an aviation hub in doubt. Although travel restrictions to Hong Kong have been relaxed recently, it’s uncertain to what extent tourists will return. The airport currently welcomes just a small fraction of its pre-pandemic traffic. Hong Kong has also been hit hard by the departure of financial institutions that were based in the territory.
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