Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the environmental performance of hotel brands, the vacation rentals labor shortage, and South Africa’s energy crisis.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, March 16. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Travel brands have increasingly emphasized their commitment to sustainability in recent years, including major hotel companies. So how are they faring in their quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Skift Research addresses that topic in a new report analyzing hotel companies’ sustainability efforts. 

Senior Research Analyst Wouter Geerts reports that most of the largest hotel companies have established science-based targets for their emissions levels. He writes that’s an improvement from just a few years ago. Geerts adds that most hotel companies seem to be on target for their emissions reduction goals.  

Next, the short-term rental industry, like other sectors of travel, has struggled with labor shortages coming out of the pandemic. However, Short-Term Rental Reporter Srividya Kalyanaraman writes it can’t rely on tech yet to solve its staffing issues

Guy Westlake, founder of property management software firm Lavanda, said it’s becoming harder to find candidates for positions in the short-term rental industry. Kalyanaraman reports a lot of workers are shunning hospitality for higher-paying remote roles that have emerged in recent years. But Westlake adds human workers will be necessary for at least another decade, noting that robots can’t clean or maintain apartments yet.

Kalyanaraman writes the rising cost of living in popular tourist markets has also contributed to the short-term rental industry’s labor crisis. She notes that many locals who would have previously found work in the industry have been priced out of those destinations. 

Finally, South Africa has been battered by a worsening energy crisis that’s included frequent blackouts. That’s complicating business for the country’s travel industry, writes Travel Experiences Reporter Selene Brophy.

Brophy writes the ongoing power cuts don’t bode for South Africa’s attempts to attract digital nomads. Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said the power cuts have made internet connections challenging. The organization has partnered with Airbnb to promote Cape Town as a remote working destination. Meanwhile, an executive at South African hospitality brand Curiocity said frequent power outages could result in digital nomads cutting their stays in the country short. Remote workers account for at least  80 percent of the company’s bookings.  

Brophy adds that power cuts have forced some travel businesses to invest in costly diesel generators, which eat away at any potential profits. On the other hand, the V&A Waterfront, South Africa’s most visited attraction, has increased its investment in solar energy over the last 15 years. Brophy notes it’s seen a substantial decrease in overall energy consumption. 

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Tags: climate change, labor, short-term rentals, skift podcast, skift research, south africa, sustainability

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