Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at phone calls on planes, Sam Shank's HotelTonight journey, and why small hotels may be beautiful.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, December 5. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Passengers may soon be able to make phone calls on flights in the European Union. The European Commission recently ruled that airlines can provide 5G technology on planes, meaning they can provide the latest internet connection service to travelers on their trips, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.

Travelers on flights in the European Union will be able to use the most up-to-date 5G technology, which Habtemariam writes offer the fastest internet speed and connectivity. In addition, passengers may no longer have to put their phones on airplane mode. A European Union official said the change would help create growth opportunities for businesses on the continent. European Union member nations have until June 2023 to make the 5G frequency band available for planes.

Habtemariam notes some airlines in the Middle East and Asia allow passengers to make calls during flights. However, the Federal Communications Commissions in the U.S. has barred phone calls on planes since 1991 due to concerns they could interfere with flight operations.

Next, Sam Shank, who co-founded hotel booking app HotelTonight in 2010, recently announced he was stepping down as CEO at the Airbnb-owned company. So Skift is taking a look at 15 important moments in his tenure at HotelTonight, a platform that has had a significant impact on the travel industry, reports Associate Editor Rashaad Jorden.

Those key moments Jorden listed included some of the San Francisco-based company’s biggest milestones, including expanding to Europe and Mexico and making the app available in Spanish, French and German, among other languages. Airbnb acquired HotelTonight in 2019 in a deal worth more than $400 million in cash and stock.

Jorden also delves into setbacks HotelTonight experienced during Shank’s time at HotelTonight, including laying off roughly 20 percent of its workforce in November 2015.

Finally, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a collection of more than 500 luxury properties worldwide, strongly believe travelers are increasingly eager to stay in smaller spaces. The company has even launched a marketing campaign to amplify the message smaller is better, reports Contributor Leslie Barrie.

Small Luxury Hotels has debuted what it calls a private collection. The company has 76 hotels that belong in the category, which includes units having a private front door and its own kitchen. Richard Hyde, Small Luxury Hotels’ chief operating officer, said leisure travelers aren’t interested in staying at hotels with big conference rooms. He added the lack of conference rooms at its properties is appealing to prospective guests.


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Tags: airbnb, hoteltonight, paxex, skift podcast, small luxury hotels

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