Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at JetBlue’s coming regulatory fight, Graduate Hotels’ sports play, and Inspirato’s earnings.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, August 9 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

JetBlue Airways finalized a deal last month to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion after three unsuccessful attempts. But Jay Shabat, senior analyst of Skift brand Airline Weekly, reports one major obstacle stands between JetBlue and its takeover of Spirit becoming official — approval from the U.S. government.

Shabat writes JetBlue’s lawyers will contend in front of federal officials that the deal benefits travelers. The New York-based carrier believes that creating a fifth airline with a national scope would help decrease fares, especially in big hub cities. JetBlue will also argue it’s a more consumer-friendly airline than Spirit for reasons beyond price, Shabat adds. JetBlue provides in-flight features such as free Wi-Fi and free drinks.

However, Shabat notes that opponents of JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit will likely have a receptive ear in Washington, D.C. Critics of the deal will assert consumers will suffer if Spirit ceases being a low-cost carrier, he writes. Furthermore, the Biden administration has vehemently supported more competition in the airline industry. JetBlue is already under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a lawsuit to block its Northeast Alliance with American Airlines. The DOJ claims JetBlue’s partnership with American would reduce competition on the East Coast.

We turn next to Graduate Hotels’ first foray in the short-term rental market. The company, long focused on running boutique hotels in college towns, is targeting the lucrative market of college football fans, reports Contributor Carley Thornell.

Graduate Homes has launched Graduate Homes, a short-term rental program that provides college football fans looking for accommodation the opportunity to stay in houses. The program’s first rentals are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, Mississippi — two towns home to prominent college football programs. Graduate President Kevin Osterhaus said the company views the program as a way to grow its brand without actually expanding its physical footprint.

But despite arranging optional services for guests such as transportation to and from airports and tailgate parties, Graduate Homes does not provide customers game tickets.

Finally, travel startup Inspirato reports that its luxury travel subscription revenue doubled in the second quarter from last year, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

The Denver-based company, which offers vacation rentals and apartment stays worldwide, said it generated $36 million in subscription revenue during the quarter. That figure is a record for the company. However, Inspirato’s earning report also revealed concerning signs for the company. Membership in its Inspirato Club, in which consumers pay a fee to access discounted travel, only registered a 4 percent year-over-year increase. In addition, Inspirato’s second-quarter net losses jumped from $600,000 in 2021 to more than $7 million this year.

November 16, 2022
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX and Online
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Tags: graduate hotels, inspirato, jetblue airways, ncaa, skift podcast, spirit airlines, spirit takeover