Skift Take

In Skift's top stories this week, we reveal our list of the world's elite hotel design firms, airlines grapple with how to deal with angry customers, and Southwest becomes the latest airline to overhaul its travel management platform.

Throughout the week we are posting original stories night and day covering news and travel trends, including on the impact of coronavirus. Every weekend we will offer you a chance to read the most essential stories again in case you missed them earlier.

15 Hotel Designers to Watch Now: Talk about eye candy. In our first-ever list of top hotel design firms, we spotlight the interior designs and architectural masterworks that are making hotels more comfortable, sustainable, and breathtaking.

U.S. Airlines Face Steep Marketing Challenge After Epic Nightmare Summer: You don’t wan’t airlines to apologize. You want airlines to get better. There’s the starting point in how to message to your customers going forward.

Marriott Elevates Design Lab at New Headquarters in Innovation Push: Management smugness can doom any company to falling behind. So it’s reassuring to see hotel giants like Marriott International make innovation efforts and guest feedback more visible and central.

Southwest Joins Airlines Looking to Provide More Travel Management Tools: A trio of airlines have overhauled their corporate platforms in the past seven days. The focus is on self-service, and managing perks as well as discounts, which could help them gain more direct business from smaller companies that are spearheading the recovery.

Airbnb Boosts Marketing Advantage Over Rivals in 2nd Quarter: Booking Holdings and Expedia are changing their marketing strategies, a healthy development. Meanwhile, Airbnb widened its marketing edge.

Asian Travelers Are Confused By Sustainable Travel: That’s an Industry Problem: From India to Indonesia, Asian travelers are becoming increasingly conscious about sustainable choices — and perplexed by them. The travel industry needs to understand this — and failing to do so might be tantamount to greenwashing in the eyes of consumers.

Marriott-TED Talks Partnership Steps Up Hotel Co-Marketing: Extending experiential programming to the youngest travelers is a smart move in more ways than one — and can build brand loyalty for years to come. Is this the new wave of marketing partnerships in hospitality?

Frontdesk Plays Its Own Cards in the Shadow of Vacasa and Sonder: Whether it is major online travel agencies selecting focus markets, or under-the-radar property managers like Frontdesk deciding to target second-tier cities, companies always have to strategically pick their spots. Sometimes there can be riches in the hinterlands.

25hours Hotel Seeks to Carve Out a Cultural Soul in Dubai’s Financial Hub: It’s not always apparent in the hyper-luxury narrative, but Dubai has a growing creative class. And 25hours is catering to it with a lobby and hotel that feels like a heartbeat in the middle of a financial district in the city. They are first movers for a coming flood of more lifestyle brands seeking a footprint in the city.

The Travel Brands Sponsoring Champions League Football Teams: The world’s best professional sports tournament has returned and travel brands hope their association with champions will turn into bookings and visits.

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Tags: airlines, design, flight delays, football, hotels, marriott, soccer, southwest, top stories, travel marketing

Photo credit: A view from a room in the Four Seasons Bangkok, a project of Denniston — an elite hotel designer. Four Seasons Hotels