Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Marriott’s new apartment offering, turning pools into profitability, and what tech layoffs mean for travel brands.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, November 11. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Marriott International is looking to take advantage of the strong demand for the growing category of blended leisure and business travel. The world’s largest hotelier is debuting an extended-stay brand offering serviced apartment stays in the U.S. and Canada to travelers looking to mix work and leisure in the same trip, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

O’Neill writes the new brand, Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, isn’t Marriott’s first product combining branded apartment space with upscale residential extended-stay units. But he adds the pandemic-era boom in remote and hybrid work has created a greater demand for home-like amenities in hotels. Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy features between one and three bedrooms, a full kitchen and weekly housekeeping service.

Skift has thoroughly explored the blending of work, travel and personal lives in a development it calls the Great Merging.

Next, swimming pools have long been a popular setting for hotel guests to relax in. But hotels are increasingly choosing to turn pools they closed during the pandemic into more profitable event spaces, reports Contributor Carley Thornell.

Thornell cites the Revere Hotel Boston Common as one property that’s converted its pool area into lounge space. The Revere’s new lounge can serve as an event venue accommodating up to 200 people. General Manager Mark Fischer said the Revere aims to get up to 15 percent more revenue by operating the former pool area year-round, noting the hotel wanted to find creative ways of adding more events space.

Thornell added hotels are seeing other financial benefits in not operating swimming pools. Kristin Feenstra, the general manager of the Residence Inn Fairfax City in Virginia, described closing its pool as great from a cost-saving perspective, eliminating the need for pool and safety maintenance.

Finally, tech giants Facebook and Twitter recently announced they’re laying off thousands of employees. But what do the tech sector job losses mean for a travel industry still grappling with labor shortages? Skift co-founder and CEO Rafat Ali, Editor-in-Chief Tom Lowry and Research Analyst Seth Borko discuss the impact of the layoffs on travel in a special edition of the Skift Podcast.

Borko noted that a similar wave of layoffs could take place in the travel industry. He said that travel companies run the risk of making the same mistake major tech corporations made, which is to assume good times will never end and overhire during an expansion cycle.

Ali, Lowry and Borko also touched on how the layoffs could impact business travel, which has yet to rebound fully from the pandemic. Ali pointed out that tech companies drive a lot of corporate travel, adding that major corporations sending less staff on the road would delay the sector’s recovery. Ali cited Google as one tech giant cutting back on business travel.

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Tags: facebook, guest experience, labor, marriott, skift podcast, twitter

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