Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Booking Holding’s discounting, Kenyan hotels’ local F&B strategy, and IHG’s new ad campaign.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, August 4 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Booking Holdings estimates that its flagship brand Booking.com commands on average a quarter of its customers’ overall travel budgets. And to capture an even larger portion of their wallets, the company is increasing discounting, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

Booking Holdings said during its second quarter earnings call on Wednesday that it would emphasize discounting instead of traditional marketing efforts. Schaal writes Booking.com will increase discounting by introducing, among other methods, a buy-now, pay-later feature. However, the surge in discounting is expected to negatively impact Booking Holdings’ take rate — or commissions — this year.

Booking Holdings generated $857 million worth of net income in the second quarter, in contrast to a $167 million loss the previous year.

Next, IHG launched an international ad blitz on Wednesday to create awareness of the hotel group and its loyalty program. Those ads represent IHG’s largest investment in a marketing campaign in a decade, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

IHG’s new “guest as you guest” campaign aims to remind consumers that the hotel group is the parent company of 17 brands such as Intercontinental and Kimpton, O’Neill writes. In addition to linear and streaming TV ads, the campaign includes outdoor displays, such as posters in subways and billboards at sporting events. Connor Smith, IHG’s vice president of masterbrand strategy and awareness, said the ad blitz was necessary to introduce the company to prospective customers.

IHG — unlike rivals Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt — has often been anonymous in the past since its name isn’t featured across its hotels, O’Neill adds.

We conclude today in Kenya. Major global hotel chains in the country are shifting to local foods in their menus to attract travelers, reports Contributor Harriet Akinyi.

Kenya’s major international hotels have long showcased Asian and continental European dishes in their menus. But with travelers increasingly choosing hotels based on dining options, more global hotel chains in Kenya are showcasing local food to entice prospective guests. Shivram Gangadharan, the general manager of a Nairobi-based Radisson Blu hotel, said the shift to Kenyan cuisine has helped his hotel attract more visitors.

Hotels in Kenya are also emphasizing local cuisine because staff are more comfortable with it, Akinyi notes. Shamim Ehsani, general manager of the Tribe Hotel in Nairobi, said most waiters in luxury hotels find it difficult to explain unfamiliar menus. Ehsani added that customers notice very quickly if restaurant staff is uncomfortable with items on the menu.

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Tags: booking holdings, ihg, kenya, online travel newsletter, skift podcast