Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at independent hotel recovery, AirAsia's China hopes, and Portugal's potential short-term rental restrictions.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, March 2. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Some hotel industry experts predicted the pandemic would drive more independent hotels in the U.S. to join brands like most already have. So what’s the state of the independent hotel sector coming out of Covid? Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill reports that while independent hotels face challenges, most are holding their own.

O’Neill writes the U.S. is arguably the world’s most consolidated hotel market, with only about a third of the country’s hotels remaining independent in recent years. A hospitality analyst said the U.S. is fast becoming a nation of brands. However, the pandemic didn’t necessarily hasten the so-called brandification of American hotels, with O’Neill noting that 2022 didn’t see many more independent hotels close than branded ones.

O’Neill adds it’s possible that U.S. hotel brandification has gone as far as it can go, citing advances in technology and social media advertising that have somewhat leveled the playing field for some properties competing against bigger brands.

Next, Portugal is proposing a ban on new short-term rental licenses to help solve a housing crisis that has driven its citizens to demand reforms. The proposal could have unintended consequences though, including pushing rental prices up, writes Short-Term Rental Reporter Srividya Kalyanaraman.

In addition to possibly banning new short-term rental licenses, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has proposed ending the country’s Golden Visa program. It offers a residence visa to non-European Union nationals making significant investments in Portugal. However, one immigration lawyer said those measures wouldn’t decrease the demand for tourism and short-term rentals, adding they could cause rental prices to surge. Housing prices rose nearly 19 percent in Portugal in 2022.

Kalyanaraman writes Portuguese authorities are urging the government to move cautiously regarding solutions to its housing crisis. One hospitality executive said short-term rentals are responsible for half of guest nights booked in Lisbon. Tourism accounts for more than 17 percent of Portugal’s gross domestic product.

Finally, Southeast Asia’s largest budget carrier AirAsia is confident China’s reopening will boost its recovery. AirAsia is ramping up service to the critical market this year, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

AirAsia joins a list of airlines resuming flights to China after Beijing significantly eased travel restrictions in January. The company plans to launch at least five new routes to the country this year. Russell writes China lifting its pandemic-era travel curbs is significant for AirAsia, with China being a large tourism market for Southeast Asian nations like Thailand and the Philippines.

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Tags: airasia, independent hotels, portugal, skift podcast

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