Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at travel brands’ Covid refund policies, Crowne Plaza’s revamp, and tourism politics in the U.S.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, July 15 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Although large numbers of travelers worldwide have resumed Covid-paused trips this summer, the pandemic is continuing to wreak havoc on travel plans. But are travelers still able to get refunds if Covid impacts those plans? Editorial Assistant Rashaad Jorden takes a look at how major travel companies are handling the issue of Covid-related refunds.
While Airbnb is no longer including Covid-related circumstances as a reason for a refund, travelers who have booked trips with tour operators G Adventures and Intrepid Travel are both eligible for refunds if they test positive for Covid prior to the departure. That’s also the same for cruise giants Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Line.
However, dozens of major travel companies don’t have clear policies regarding Covid-related refunds. Neither Delta Air Lines or American Airlines has an official policy about whether travelers’ whose trips are impacted by Covid are eligible for a refund. In addition, hotel giants — such as Hyatt, IHG and Wyndham — have told guests booking via online travel agents or other third parties to contact their booking provider to get an answer.
Next, IHG subsidiary Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts has unveiled an ambitious plan to redefine the traditional image of business travelers, its core market, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.
Crowne Plaza believes, through its new blended travel program, it can take advantage of four emerging lifestyle trends, including side hustles and hybrid living. The company found that 34 percent of Americans already have a side hustle, and that 80 percent of consumers said they once had a groundbreaking business idea while on vacation.
While its rivals are targeting so-called bleisure (business combined with leisure) travelers, Ginger Taggart — Crowne Plaza’s global vice president of brand management — said the company has an opportunity to become a thought leader, adding it’s moved beyond bleisure.
Finally, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators are in favor of creating an assistant secretary of commerce for travel and tourism position, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
The senators brought up the idea earlier this week at a subcommittee meeting on the U.S. Commerce Department’s 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which was published last June. The position is considered necessary for the department to successfully implement its strategy, Habtemariam writes.
The U.S. is the only G20 member without a high-ranking government official focused on tourism, but Discover Puerto Rico President and CEO Brad Dean, who spoke at the hearing, expressed optimism that the position would be created. The Senate has advanced legislation that includes a provision for the new post.