Skift Take

This week Skift editors broke down online travel CEO pay, the likely end to the JetBlue/American Air alliance, and whispers of a Choice and Wyndham combination.

This week was dominated by speculation around Choice Hotel’s interest in acquiring its budget lodging competitor Wyndham. Experts weighed in on the will they or won’t they arguments and Wall Street had some ideas of its own as well. We covered that in depth. We also looked at CEO compensation at online travel companies while trying to make sense of why who was earning what in 2022. Read below for these and more headlines from this week.

The Week in Review

10 Highest-Paid Online Travel Execs in 2022
Sonder and Vacasa, both of which face potential delistings in 2023, gave their CEOs pay packages worth $21 million and $13 million, respectively, over the coming years. As these things go, that’s ample motivation to improve performance.

Choice Hotels Explores Buying Wyndham: Report
It’s unclear if talks between the two largest U.S. operators of non-luxury hotels are earnest. But even the idea that Choice Hotels is interested in a merger speaks volumes about how the sector is becoming a scale game.

More: Analysts Skeptical of Choice Hotels Acquisition Interest in Wyndham

The Undoing of American and JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance – in 11 Quotes
The 94-page ruling methodically knocks down the argument from American and JetBlue that their alliance boosts competition to benefit flyers.

More: What’s Next for American and JetBlue After Court Rejects Alliance

Chase Travel Looks to Become a Household Name With $15 Billion in Sales by 2025
Chase Travel’s ascension, and that of other banks selling travel, is becoming an ever-more important power center in a fragmented travel industry. There will be hyper competition in this space.

Tourism Triumphs: Skift Travel Health Index Reaches Record High
For the first time since January 2020, the Skift Travel Health Index has topped 100, a sign that global tourism is now performing better than it did before the pandemic. Every region in our index showed growth over the last month.

Podcast Bonus: The Skift Research team explains the industry’s coronavirus recovery

Tourism Industry Warns: NAACP’s Florida Travel Advisory Could Hurt Black Businesses
Many in the tourism industry are unhappy with the direction Florida is taking in its restrictive policies toward marginalized communities, but they don’t believe the solution is to avoid traveling to the state.

Cracking the Code for a New Wave of Members Clubs
There is a boom in private clubs around the world. But, in the race to garner members and open outlets, personalized service and the underlying craft have gone missing. True hospitality plus thoughtful social and commercial dot-connecting remains a nice open white space.

GetYourGuide Joins Kayak and Expedia With a ChatGPT Plugin
ChatGPT plugins had already covered flight and hotel bookings. Now, two new travel companies are joining the experiment, bringing ticketed events and car rentals into the mix.

Chart of the Week: Accommodations Recovery

Vacation rentals that gained popularity through the pandemic have recovered faster than hotels. The vacation rental sector index initially surpassed 2019 performance in January 2022 by 12 percentage points, and it has since risen above pre-pandemic levels. Since January 2023, vacation rentals have been 30-40 percentage points above 2019 performance levels.

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Tags: american airlines,, choice hotels, coronavirus recovery, expedia, florida, getyourguide, jetblue airways, kayak, wyndham

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