Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Marriott’s optimism, Royal Caribbean’s bounce, and a tourism innovator in Zimbabwe.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, November 4. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Marriott executives said they feel confident in the hotel company’s ability to weather any economic downturn better than it has through past recessions.

They noted that the company’s fourth quarter will exceed 2019 in revenue per available room in a quarterly earnings call on Thursday. In its largest markets, the U.S. and Canada, Marriott collected $630 million in net income and $5.3 billion in revenue.

Marriott executives are optimistic about 2023 even if the economy enters a downturn, Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neil reports. Executives cited the fact that Marriott’s portfolio is weighted toward premium brands, giving the hotel company a resilient attachment with consumers with higher levels of discretionary income.

As the global hotelier enters a post-pandemic boom, it is leaning less on online travel agencies and encouraging consumers to book direct. In the third quarter, 38 percent of consumers went direct, compared to 12 percent from online travel agencies, which was 1 percent higher as a proportional share than in 2019.

Next, cruise company Royal Caribbean experienced a year-over-year boost in its booking volume in the third quarter thanks to its own relaxed Covid protocols and looser restrictions in various countries. On a quarterly earnings call on Thursday, executives said relaxed the protocols expanded the addressable market in the U.S. by 35 million, Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam reports.

Executives also took a chance to talk about the upcoming launch of their Icon of the Seas class ship, which is reportedly the world’s largest cruise ship. Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty said it will be a game changer for the company.

Looking ahead to 2023, Royal Caribbean executives are optimistic about most markets. For China, they don’t expect to have business there in 2023. They do, however, expect there will be business before 2025.

Finally, we turn to Zimbabwe. In the country, community development and environmental conservation non-profit Malilangwe Trust is working to ensure the country’s communities are fed and healthy, which are the foundations of a successful tourism economy, writes Skift On Experience columnist Colin Nagy in this month’s At Your Service feature on unique jobs in travel.

The sub-Saharan country is currently undergoing many challenges. The tourism industry experienced a 28 percent decline in employment from 2019 and 2020 to 128,000. Political instability, corruption, food shortages and rampant inflation continue to plague the country.

Tendai Nhunzwi, Malilangwe Trust’s general manager of human resources and neighbor outreach program, is on the frontlines tackling the issue of food security. He leads programs to ensure children in various communities are adequately fed. Through these programs, he has helped kids stay in school and graduate.

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Tags: marriott, royal caribbean, skift podcast, zimbabwe

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