Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at JetBlue's new loyalty updates, Kimpton's better mentorship program, and vacation rental owners' direct booking challenges.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, December 13. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

JetBlue Airways recently made long overdue upgrades to its loyalty program, True Blue. But the new features might have made the program too complicated for travelers, reports Contributor Ted Reed.

True Blue’s first upgrades since 2012 include more Mosaic programs for elite flyers and a new system of mileage accumulation named tiles. A JetBlue spokesperson also said consumers will be able to accumulate points for total spending and not just for flights on the airline. Reed writes that JetBlue is following the example of carriers like American Airlines that have modified their loyalty programs to accommodate more non-airline spending.

However, Reed notes that loyalty program experts are debating if True Blue’s updates have made it too complex for consumers. One travel marketing executive said most airline loyalty programs have become very complicated, adding that JetBlue having four Mosaic tiers, instead of one, seems excessive.

Next, the hotel industry has long lacked racial diversity in upper management roles. But a new program is working to make the sector more inclusive for prospective Black executives, reports Contributor Carley Thornell.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants launched a Young Professionals mentorship program with the National Urban League earlier this year. It’s part of Kimpton’s Black Lives Matter Act to Action initiative, which aims to increase leadership opportunities for employees of color. Kimpton’s Vice President of Sales Telesa Via, who leads the membership program, said the hotel chain has devoted significant resources to create paths for more Black employees to go up the corporate ladder.

Via cited the example of a Black woman she mentored at Kimpton, who Via said was strongly considering leaving the hotel industry at one point. Via stated she introduced the woman to members of Kimpton’s Black Lives Matter committee, who have helped her advance in her career.

Finally, the vacation rental industry believes it’s making inroads in attracting more direct bookings. But a new survey of property managers and individual hosts revealed that’s not exactly the case, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

Direct bookings and referrals represented about 19 percent of vacation rental reservations in 2022. That’s according to a survey of 375 property managers and individual hosts by vacation rental management software company Hostfully. The figure is a drop from the percentages recorded in both 2020 and 2021.

However, managers with more than 100 properties in their portfolios reported a much higher percentage of direct bookings than those who manage fewer than five properties.

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Tags: direct booking, jetblue airways, kimpton, labor, skift podcast, vacation rentals

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