Skift Take

This weekend's roundup looks at hotel news out of Asia, a very big generative AI research report, and Airbnb's activities reset.

First Things

Global hotel CEOs, regional hotel brands, and independent operators gathered this week in Bengaluru, India midweek to discuss regional growth and what that meant for the larger travel community at the Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA). I was lucky to be there with my colleague, Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia, who was interviewing leaders and writing stories.

You can read her stories about Hilton’s expansion of Waldorf Astoria in the region as well as Radisson’s own luxury expansion. Her reporting from the event will be showing up over the next few months. Much of the discussion about expansion and enthusiasm was familiar to me from reading two of Skift’s daily newsletters. Our Skift India Daily newsletter written by Amrita Ghosh covers not just hotels, but every big travel story coming out of the region. Read it if you want to understand the broader landscape. A number of attendees were subscribers to Daily Lodging Report’s APAC newsletter, which covers India extensively four days a week. Read it if you want to open or buy a hotel anywhere in India.

Top Headlines

Airbnb Halts Submissions of New Experiences as Company Refocuses on Core Offerings

Is this “pause” a precursor to something new from Airbnb, or is it a realization that it may not ever become a large enough category for the company?

Japan Has the Tourists for Cherry Blossom Season But There’s a Service Gap

Japan is still shaking off the lingering effects of its long and strict lockdowns.

Why Travel Tech Startup Heygo Closed a Year After Raising $20 Million

consumer platform for virtual travel was probably doomed no matter what. But its founder tried, grieved the loss, and is now moving on with a pocketful of lessons and his head held high.

Google Maps Is the Potential Killer App In This Age of AI

“Conversational search is about to get wildly useful and cleverly orchestrated across maps, points of interest, personalization, geo-location and enriched content.”

Bulgari Hotels Sees Unhurried Growth as a Way to Retain Its Cachet

Having a hotel in every gateway city and resort destination may look rich. But Bulgari is wise to preserve the rarity of its brand by keeping its joint venture with Marriott small. 

Expedia CEO Looks to AI to ‘Rebalance’ Dependence on Google

The travel industry has long hoped for something to counter-balance the pecking order in Big Tech. It’s not assured, but this time around generative AI could make it happen.

New Research: Generative AI’s Impact on Travel

Despite the very short time artificial intelligence has been in the hands of consumers, AI is already revolutionary to the average consumer. This leap forward in technology has had an electric effect and sparked the imagination of many, including in the travel industry. ChatGPT reached one million users within just 5 days. For context, Airbnb took two and a half years to reach the same benchmark. Read the new Skift Research report Generative AI’s Impact on Travel.


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Tags: india, india outbound

Photo credit: Attendees at the HICSA conference in Bengalaru, India on April 13, 2023. Skift

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