Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at a Hopper-Uber tie up, Choice Hotels' earnings, and travel spending in the U.S.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, May 10. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Uber is gradually beefing up its travel portfolio. The company has entered into a partnership with online travel agency Hopper that provides its UK-based users the opportunity to book flights and buy fintech products, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. 

Schaal notes that Uber is introducing the flight booking feature to a small percentage of its UK users in mid-May while planning a full rollout by this summer. In addition, several Hopper services, including the ability to cancel flights for any reasons or get refunds in the event of flight disruptions, will likely be available for Uber’s UK consumers. 

Next, despite rising prices, U.S. travelers largely aren’t eager to cut their travel budgets. Skift Research’s newly released U.S. Travel Tracker report reveals that many consumers are protecting travel from spending cuts they may be making because of inflation.

The latest survey from Skift Research finds 70 percent of U.S. travelers had experienced higher travel prices while booking trips. However, only 5 percent of respondents said they would or had cut their travel spending. Senior Research Analyst Varsha Arora writes that although a growing number of Americans believe the country’s economy will worsen in the next year, more than half believe their personal financial status will improve in the next 12 months. 

Arora adds that nearly 60 percent of Americans traveled in March 2023, a 4 percentage point increase from last December. 

Finally, Choice Hotels has seen bookings surpass pre-Covid levels despite widespread pessimism about the U.S. economy. Why is the company enjoying so much success recently? Choice attributes the surge in bookings to the rise in blended business and leisure travel, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

CEO Patrick Pacious said during Choice Hotels’ first quarter earnings call on Tuesday that remote work is helping fuel its strong performance. O’Neill notes the company benefited from travelers extending their trips into shoulder days of the weekend more than they did pre-Covid. Choice Hotels saw a 2 percentage point jump in occupancy growth on Thursday and Sundays compared to 2019 levels. 

Choice Hotels generated a net income of nearly $53 million during the first quarter. 

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Tags: choice hotels, hopper, partnerships, skift podcast, skift research, uber

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