Skift Take

The travel industry started 2023 on a high note, both in terms of earnings and Skift’s proprietary health metrics. Read this and other highlights from this week in our Saturday news roundup.

First Things

While the tech sector faces the blues, the travel sector is still moving in a positive direction. You can see this in the last month of earnings reports, as well as from exclusive Skift Research surveys. Although not fully recovered completely, the travel industry gained substantial momentum at the start of the year. All regions have almost recovered from the pandemic blues, Asia Pacific being the only exception. But with loosening travel restrictions and China reopening, we expect a stronger travel industry to be less uneven this year.

Skift Research subscribers can read the full report here. Non-subscribers can see highlights of the report here.

Last thing: We added more speakers and details about the Skift Future of Lodging Forum this week. We’d love to have you join us in London on March 29. 

Top Headlines

Black-Inhabited Gullah Geechee Islands in U.S. Fight for Tourism on Own Terms

Tourism can bring billions of dollars to the Gullah Geechee Corridor along the Southeast coast in the U.S.. The challenge is ensuring most of it doesn’t get siphoned off by profit-maximizing outsiders.

The Trends Boutique Hotels Need to Watch in 2023

Few people have given more thought to boutique hotels than Frances and Ariela Kiradjian. Today they believe boutique hotels need smarter local partnerships, more design that’s functional as well as stylish for our post-Instagram era, and more wellness offerings than just yoga.

Sequoia Capital-Backed Safara Curates New Gen Z Travel Booking

Gen Z travelers are hard to please. With support from Sequoia and partners, hotel booking startup Safara is looking to build loyalty in this demographic by focusing on curations, memberships, and environmental consciousness.

IHG Expects Hotel Rates to Stay Strong Thanks to Digital Investments

IHG’s hotel rates are higher than in 2019 even though occupancy hasn’t recovered. We hear a lot about pent-up demand as a factor, but technology matters more in the long run. Plus, IHG’s claim to market-share leadership in China bodes well.

Trivago and Tripadvisor Metasearch Lag Online Travel Agency Pandemic Recovery

Some metasearch sites have lost a bit of marketing appeal for advertisers. More brand marketing and Google are likely among the factors behind the trend.

Saudi Arabia Plans Massive Green Downtown for Riyadh

As Saudi Arabia looks to diversify its economy, the country is on a rapid urban expansion, ensuring that there’s enough infrastructure to accommodate a growing number of tourists.

Booking Holdings Makes Good on Long-Standing Goal to Take U.S. Market Share made headway in the U.S. while Expedia was likely distracted getting its internal house in order. Throw Hopper into the mix, and Booking will have to fight to solidify any inroads.

CitizenM Looks for Emotional Connections Through Fledgling Subscription Model

If you can’t compete against the loyalty point focused programs on offer from the likes of Marriott or Hilton, you have to sacrifice something.

Travel Health Index as of January 2023

After years of uncertainty and challenges throwing curveballs at the travel industry, the new year is expected to bring new opportunities. 2022, although often referred to as the year of pent-up demand, observed a very stable Index performance throughout the latter part of the year. This year too seems to have started on the same note. There has been an increase over December 2022, with the Skift Travel Health Index now sitting at 89, which is a noteworthy 30 percentage points (pp) increase over January 2022. 

Skift Research subscribers can read the full report here. Non-subscribers can see highlights of the report here.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

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