Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at hotel branding secrets, TripAdvisor’s earnings, and tourism benefits that could come with a Gibraltar border change.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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

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Episode Notes

Hotel executives frequently discuss branding, but many of them fail to do it well. So what are hotel companies doing wrong? Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill turns to Cornell University professor Chekitan Dev, an expert on the subject, for answers.

Dev, who wrote the book Hospitality Branding, said that branding is essentially giving travelers reasons to pick one hotel over others. He uses five adjectives to describe an effective brand — bold, relevant, authentic, novel and distinct. Those adjectives spell out the acronym brand, O’Neill points out.

But despite describing branding as conceptually easy, Dev acknowledged poor brand management is also easy to accomplish. He believes that research and development is at an all-time low in the hotel industry, contributing to the large-scale lack of innovation he sees. In addition, the pandemic may have sparked more of so-called brand cheating, O’Neill writes. Parent company-run hotels had on average worse compliance with brand standards than franchised properties, according to research Dev contributed to.

We turn next to Tripadvisor. Its new CEO Matt Goldberg said in his first earnings call at the helm that he aims to enhance the company’s use of data, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

Goldberg, who assumed the CEO role on July 1, didn’t provide any specifics about strategy changes during Tripadvisor’s second-earnings call. But he believes that Tripadvisor can better use data to improve the customer experience and boost its partners’ return on investment. Goldberg cited his experience running data-driven businesses as the reason for his confidence. Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer Ernst Teunissen raised the possibility that Tripadvisor would make acquisitions to complement its brands Viator and TheFork.

Tripadvisor generated $31 million in net income during the second quarter, in contrast to a $40 million net loss the same period last year.

We finish today in Gibraltar. The longtime UK territory could get a significant tourism boost thanks to a treaty that would abolish border controls with Spain, writes Contributor Sonia Menken.

Menken writes that a treaty allowing Gibraltar to join the European Union’s Schengen Area by the end of 2022 is being negotiated. Citizens of the area’s 26 nations can travel freely in the region without having to display a passport or national identity card. Gibraltar’s officials have said its economy would benefit significantly from joining the Schengen Area. The territory is home to the renowned limestone promontory The Rock, which would likely see more visitors.

Joining the Schengen Area would likely push more Spaniards to work in Gibraltar. Roughly 16,000 Spaniards already cross the border to work daily in Gibraltar.

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