Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at what hotel brands are doing with record amounts of cash, the investors in Kenyan luxury rentals, and remote work management blues.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, August 24 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

The pandemic accelerated noticeable developments in travel such as the surge of both remote work and the short-term rental market. But Contributor Harriet Akinyi reports it also drove entrepreneurs to invest in luxury houses in Kenya rather than hotels.

In addition to becoming an increasingly popular investment for consumers looking for more spacious properties, Akinyi notes that luxury houses are appealing to travelers who find them more comfortable than hotel rooms. One tour operator executive said some clients are choosing luxury hotels instead of what he considers outdated hotels, resulting in low bookings for such hotels.

But Akinyi writes Kenyan hotels are responding to luxury houses, as well.. Hotel brands, like the Hemingways Collection, are investing in luxury homes. Such moves help guarantee income for hotels even during the low season, ensuring that staff can still keep their jobs.

Next, although hybrid work is here to stay, corporations are struggling to manage co-working spaces for remote employees. A new report reveals most companies aren’t doing a good job of taking control of flexible office spaces, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

Only 17 percent of travel managers say that co-working spaces for staff members are fully managed, according to a new report from the Global Business Travel Association. In addition, 44 percent of travel managers admitted they don’t know how their company procures co-working spaces.

But the report argues travel managers aren’t to blame for the difficulty in managing co-working spaces as Parsons writes they have bigger problems on their plate. Roughly 80 percent of travel managers stated they were spending more time troubleshooting traveler issues, according to an association poll of 223 such professionals.

Finally, global hotel groups are awash in near-records amounts of cash, but that’s presenting them with hard decisions. Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill reports those hotel giants have dozens of options for deploying their immense cash piles.

Seven of the world’s most prominent hotel companies were sitting on roughly $7.3 billion in cash and short-term investments in June, according to a recent set of financial filings. O’Neill writes those companies are taking different approaches to dealing with their cash piles, with most of them signaling plans to draw them down one way or another.

O’Neill cites Hyatt and Wyndham as two companies that are looking at using their cash funds to invest in properties. Meanwhile, Marriott said it expects to return more than $2.2 billion to shareholders this year.

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Tags: hyatt, kenya, marriott, remote work, skift podcast, wyndham

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