Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Airbnb’s search updates, Hurricane Ian’s impact on meetings, and Brexit strangling Eurostar.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, September 28. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Airbnb Chairman and CEO Brian Chesky said at Skift Global Forum last week that enabling guests to find out additional information about the host, whether that person is a musician or has other appealing traits, could be of great interest, writes Executive Editor Dennis Schaal in his weekly briefing column on online travel.

Chesky some won’t care at all knowing about a host, but “there’s probably a much larger group of people that want to stay in a real house. They care who the person is,” he said.

Airbnb recently expanded the categories guests can use to search for properties, including everything from lakefront homes to A-frames and abodes in surfing areas so adding a different way to find out host information could be appealing.

The company’s property listings already provide profiles of hosts, including how many reviews their property has, when they joined Airbnb, whether they are a superhost, and brief descriptions. But Airbnb has been criticized for not identifying whether the seemingly individual host might actually work for a corporate property manager, for example.

One factor weighing against more Airbnb transparency about hosts is that the company fears more information about hosts could lead to more guests booking directly with hosts, and bypassing Airbnb.

We turn next to Hurricane Ian, which as of Tuesday night was intensifying as it heads toward the United States. As a result, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the entire state, leading to hundreds of events canceling. In addition, cruise lines are rerouting ships, ports are closing, and federal aviation officials say there will be a slew of flight disruptions over the coming days.

According to industry experts, writes Skift Meetings Senior Editor Andrea Doyle, the force majeure clause found in most meeting contracts will protect from liability. Hurricanes are considered a typical force majeure event and savvy planners have detailed disaster preparedness plans in place.

DevOps World 2022, the largest global gathering of DevOps practitioners, was returning to an in-person format for the first time since the pandemic. Disappointing for all involved, the gathering was canceled just a day before it was set to kick off on September 28.

Finally, as travel has surged back from the pandemic, issues that the industry faced prior to the precipitous drop in travel are coming home to roost. That’s the case at Eurostar, the high-speed passenger rail line that connects London to Europe under the English Channel.

Ned Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand, reports that the introduction of border controls post-Brexit at Eurostar’s London and Paris terminals have created bottlenecks that, given the current infrastructure, are limiting the railroad’s ability to fully capture the dramatic surge in travel demand, Eurostar Group CEO Jacques Damas told the chair of the UK Parliament’s Transport Committee in a letter Monday.

Despite the installation of new e-gates and customs booths at London’s St. Pancras, station capacity is roughly 30 percent lower — or 1,500 people an hour versus 2,200 in 2019 — than it was before the pandemic, Damas claimed.

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Tags: airbnb, brexit, eurostar, meetings and events, skift podcast

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