Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks at increased cross-border credit card spending, Hyatt’s boutique acquisition, and luxury brands’ travel experience experimentations.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, May 1. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Hyatt wants to improve its position in the luxury sector. The company announced plans on Friday to acquire UK boutique hotel booking site Mr & Mrs Smith for about $66 million, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons. 

Parsons writes the deal could double the number of boutique and luxury properties that Hyatt offers. In addition, Hyatt Chief Commercial Officer Mark Vondrasek said the company would be able to introduce its World of Hyatt loyalty program to a wider audience. The acquisition includes properties in more than 20 countries where Hyatt lacks a boutique presence, including Fiji, Croatia and Iceland. 

Hyatt said the transaction is anticipated to close in the second quarter. The company also plans to add direct booking access to properties in Mr & Mrs Smith’s platform through Hyatt’s website and mobile app.  

Next, Bentley and Fabergé have long been renowned in the world of luxury. And those two iconic brands are branching out into selling travel to help attract new customers, writes Travel Experiences Reporter Selene Brophy.

Bentley recently launched a set of curated trips named Extraordinary Journeys, which Brophy notes are designed around once-in-a lifetime road trips. Customers can choose among three destinations, namely Scandinavia, New Mexico and the United Kingdom. The UK trips provide guests private entry to Bentley’s factory as well as access to its headquarters.  

Likewise, the jewelry house Fabergé is teaming up with the Regent Seven Seas Cruises to launch a new ship, the Seven Seas Grandeur. It is expected to set sail in November 2023. Regent Seven Seven President Andrea DeMarco said the collaboration would provide guests access to  Fabergé experiences and experts. 

Finally, Visa and Mastercard are reporting a massive jump in cross-border spending compared to pre-Covid levels, reports Corporate Travel Editor Parsons. 

Mastercard said cross-border volumes in April more than 170 percent of 2019 levels. Meanwhile, Visa reported that travel to Latin America and the Caribbean has more than surpassed pre-Covid levels in the first three months of this year. Parson writes cross-border payments are transactions where the person paying and the person receiving the money are in different countries. He adds they’re a good indicator of travel and entertainment spend. 

Visa said during its recent second quarter earnings call that international travel from the U.S. is at 150 percent of 2019 level. However, travel to the U.S. is less than pre-Covid levels, in part due to the strong U.S. dollar. 

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Tags: hyatt, luxury, Mastercard, skift podcast, visa

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