Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at marketing safaris to modern families, measuring hotel performance, and leadership roles for women in hospitality.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, March 27. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Hotels have long said that they struggle to place women in executive roles, with women currently representing only 30 percent of leaders in the hospitality industry. So the hotel industry’s efforts to create paths for women to hold leadership positions is a long overdue step in reversing that gender imbalance, reports Contributor Carley Thornell. 

Although women account for more than half of travel and tourism workers worldwide, Thornell notes that gains for women in high level hotel management have been minimal. She cites Choice Hotels’ HERtels by Choice development seminar as one program looking to create leadership opportunities for women. The seminar connects women with hotel industry veterans and Choice executives. One hospitality CEO said a lack of industry connections is a significant barrier to hotel ownership. 

Thornell adds that women are typically carrying more of the burden for childcare coming out of the pandemic, another obstacle to landing executive roles. So Marriott International created part-time manager positions to help make the company appealing for mothers. 

Next, travel brands marketing to LGBTQ+ community have historically  focused on gay solo travelers and same-sex couples, largely in tune with their images of the segment. But Travel Experiences Reporter Selene Brophy writes that LGBTQ+ family travel is growing, with safari tour operators poised to take advantage of its boom.

David Ryan, CEO of South African-based tour operator Out2Africa, said LGBTQ+ family travel as an emerging trend completely counter to long held stereotypes of travelers in the community. He added Out2Africa’s guests haven’t had any issues with any of the safari companies it’s worked with,  describing them as LGBTQ+ friendly. Brophy writes the safari industry is well-prepared to take advantage of the booming LGBTQ+ family market. Ryan attributed the rise in LGBTQ+ family travel to the surge in same-sex couples having children. 

Meanwhile, Ryan admitted that Uganda’s recent move to enact some of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws is complicating business for Out2Africa. Ryan said Uganda has been on his radar for a long time. While the president of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association said he would never tell travelers not to visit a particular destination, Ryan said members of the community are unlikely to support an unwelcoming destination. 

Finally, the hotel industry has long considered revenue per available room — so-called RevPar — to be its most important performance metric. But some executives believe companies should use other figures to convey how well hotels are performing, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill in this week’s Early Check-In.

Hotel valuation firm HVS is urging hotels to use metrics that it says better capture a hotel’s profitability. While O’Neill writes revenue per available room is useful for its simplicity, he adds another metric to consider is revenue per available square meter. That accounts for the building as a whole. Russell Kett, the chair of HVS’ London office, said the new metric would give hotel owners more ideas of how to turn profits.

O’Neill adds that HVS also believes that revenue per available room doesn’t correlate well with a hotel’s valuation. 

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Tags: executives, LGBT travel, lgbtq, safari tourism, skift podcast, south africa

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