Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Marriott’s new corporate campus, Concur’s new tools, and Choice Hotel’s spring ad campaign.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, August 19 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
The pandemic debate is still raging over whether working in an office has considerable benefits over remote working. Marriott International offered an incentive of sorts on this matter, opening this week its new global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland, reports senior hospitality editor Sean O’Neill, who toured the facilities. Despite the recent popularity of remote working, the hotel giant expects most of its 2,300 corporate employees to report at least some days each week to the head office.
The company started construction before the pandemic. But the pandemic didn’t cause it to dramatically change the building’s design, said Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano, noting that some fixed workstations were repurposed to have even more collaboration in flexible working spaces.
Marriott’s confidence in the return of in-office work stands in contrast to the views of other travel companies that have recently built new headquarters. Airbnb recently opened a new headquarters but has also downsized some of its real estate. In May, Expedia called about 4,500 employees back to work in its new headquarters in Seattle, but it remains unclear how complete the return has been. Travel companies may agree that business travel will return to pre-pandemic levels, but they don’t all agree on when.
Next, we turn to business travel. SAP Concur Travel is getting its first overhaul in more than 15 years, in a bid to make the expense and booking platform more flexible, offering more travel options to younger travelers who tend to book outside usual channels.
Concur Travel is widely known among business travelers, and it claims a 51 percent share of the market. This rebuild, to be finished in 2023, is designed to make the platform more flexible, so other systems and content can be quickly plugged in and used by bookers. It already has 700 partners in what Sultan calls the Concur Travel “ecosystem,” but wants to be able to offer more, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matt Parsons.
We end with TV advertising. You couldn’t find a Choice Hotels national TV ad in the U.S. in all of 2021 and for the first three-and-a-half months of 2022, but then the Maryland-based franchisor surged past every other travel brand — not just hotels — to capture the top share of voice for the first seven months of the year.
That’s the word from TV measurement and analytics firm iSpot.tv, which estimated that Choice Hotels commanded a 7.19 percent share of voice among travel brands by TV ad impressions, which is when a user views an ad. Choice, according to iSpot.tv, edged out Connecticut-based online travel agency Priceline (6.99 percent) and its Amsterdam-headquartered sister company Booking.com (6.97 percent).
From January 1 to July 31, travel industry TV and impressions were up 61.1 percent year-over-year, while estimated national TV ad spend more than doubled to $608.6 million, according to iSpot.tv.