Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Southwest’s earnings, Inspirato’s challenges, and Nevada’s pitch to business travelers.
Skift Daily Briefing Podcast
Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, January 27. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Southwest Airlines is still picking up the pieces from its enormous holiday season meltdown that saw it cancel nearly 17,000 flights. The Dallas-based carrier doesn’t expect to make a complete financial recovery until March, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Southwest revealed during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Thursday that it expects at least a $300 million hit in revenue in January and February. That’s in addition to the roughly $800 million hit Southwest suffered in December. But the company executives expressed confidence its finances would improve in March. Meanwhile, CEO Bob Jordan laid out steps Southwest is taking to help prevent a repeat of a similar meltdown, including a full review of how it prepares for inclement weather.
Southwest posted a $220 million loss in the fourth quarter as a result of the holiday season fiasco. However, the company did record a $539 million net profit for all of 2022.
Next, luxury travel subscription brand Inspirato cited macroeconomic uncertainty as the reason it recently laid off 12 percent of its workforce. But as luxury travel is poised to thrive in 2023, Senior Research Analyst Pranavi Agarwal reports Inspirato’s issues run much deeper than a looming recession.
Inspirato, in addition to cutting staff, has scaled back its 2022 financial outlook while Hyatt and Marriott, among other companies, are planning to expand their luxury portfolios. One Inspirato investor expressed shock at its inability to take advantage of the surging interest in luxury hospitality, with Agarwal writing that the company is seemingly struggling to appease affluent travelers. Inspirato went public in February 2022 via a merger with a blank check company.
While Inspirato attributed the layoffs earlier this month to economic concerns, Agarwal notes the company recorded a 16 percent year-over-year increase in subscriptions during the third quarter. Inspirato executives also said during its third quarter earnings call they had seen robust levels of booking activity.
Finally, Nevada tourism authorities are launching a new program to direct business travelers from Las Vegas toward longer stays in the state’s other regions, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.
State officials believe the Nevada Division of Tourism’s 3D Program will enable it to tap into the growing number of travelers combining business and leisure trips. Parsons writes the program features six community projects that will receive consulting services for at least seven years as well as access to funding from the federal government. Each of those projects will produce a 10-year plan detailing their strategies for developing tourism.
Cortney Bloomer, the division’s destination development manager, said many business travelers aren’t looking to gamble, adding that Nevada’s rural communities are appealing to those interested in outdoor recreation. Skift explored the evolution of blended business and leisure trips in a 2023 Megatrend.
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