Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Japan’s coronavirus recovery, big ideas at Skift Global Forum, and Ennismore’s co-working growth.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, September 23. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Travel industry leaders gathered this week at Skift Global Forum in New York City to discuss significant topics and major trends in travel, and amid all the notable soundbites, Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons reports on three big takeaways from this year’s event.

One of the takeaways Parsons cites came from Frederic Lalonde, the CEO of online travel agency Hopper. Lalonde said the key to building new products is being bold and experimenting, even if that means generating a loss. He said all of Hopper’s new products lose money but added the company is constantly trying to figure out what might work. Lalonde admitted he was stunned by Hopper’s success in selling loot boxes — treasure chests with a mystery gift — as part of a Puerto Rico promotion.

Another major takeaway from the forum was the call for tourism marketers to sell true images of destinations. Kenyan author and conservationist Dr. Mordecai Ogada blasted the travel industry for selling images of Africa from hundreds of years ago — themes he said are mostly based on Tarzan. Parsons also listed the importance of executives being approachable for all staff members as a major takeaway. Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said interacting with employees as much as possible is crucial in building trust with staff.

We turn next to major news from Japan. The country announced on Thursday it’s restoring visa-free entry for independent travelers from October 11, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also said that Japan would lift the daily cap on arrivals on the same date. Those moves put an end to the two-and-a-half years of strict travel restrictions that severely limited the number of international travelers to Japan. However, foreign tourists would need to be fully vaccinated or test negative for Covid prior to arrival.

At the same time as the restrictions lift, the Japanese government will bring back its nationwide travel discount program to boost domestic tourism. The program was paused after a surge in Covid cases.

Finally, hospitality company Ennismore is planning to expand its co-working spaces it calls “Working From” to all of its 14 hotel brands, reports Corporate Travel Editor Parsons in this Week’s Future of Work briefing.

The group’s Hoxton properties in London and Chicago are currently its only hotels to operate the co-working spaces. But founder and co-CEO Sharan Pasricha said at Skift Global Forum this week that Ennismore would expand Working From to other Ennismore hotels, which include Hyde and Mama Shelter. Pasricha described Working From, which he founded in 2019, as a “boomerang success,” citing the waiting list of 400 people wanting to join its London co-working space.

Tags: co-working, coronavirus recovery, disney parks, ennismore, hopper, japan, skift podcast