Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at Marriott's midscale push, travel junk fees, and India's new international carrier.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, August 2. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

The solid performance of Marriott’s premium hotels drove the world’s largest hotel company to a strong second quarter. And now, Marriott is looking to add midscale hotels to its portfolio, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.

O’Neill writes one reason Marriott has raised its 2023 outlook for profitability was that its hotels are mostly premium or above. He adds that travelers able to afford Marriott stays were largely sheltered from the economic concerns hitting the general population. Marriott’s revenue per available room — a key hotel industry figure — rose roughly 13% in the second quarter from last year. 

Marriott has also taken steps to boost its number of midscale hotels, with  CEO Anthony Capuano indicating that Marriott would make a midscale push in Europe. O’Neill writes one factor driving Marriott’s interest in the sector is that midscale properties are popular with developers, investors and owners. Midscale hotels tend to be fancier than economy hotels while still being considered affordable. 

Next, the Biden administration has repeatedly taken aim at so-called junk fees, charges that aren’t disclosed to consumers upfront. So what should the travel companies do? Give in. That’s the message from Skift CEO and founder Rafat Ali in an open letter to the travel industry. 

Ali argues that companies need to acknowledge that it’s a real issue and tackle it head on and. In most cases, that will mean being more transparent. In some cases, getting rid of certain fees. Ali adds that there’s bipartisan agreement in Washington, D.C. on the cracking down on junk fees and that consumer sentiment is 100% with it. 

Finally, India’s newest carrier Akasa Air has added an 20th aircraft to its fleet, making it eligible to fly internationally, writes Middle East and Asia Reporter Amrita Ghosh.

Akasa Air CEO and founder Vinay Dube hailed the milestone as a major sign of the potential of India’s aviation industry. Ghosh notes that Indian regulations require airlines to have at least 20 aircraft in their fleet to be eligible for international operations. Dube has said Akasa Air, which launched last year, is looking to fly to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa among other regions. 

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Tags: akasa air, fees, marriott, skift podcast

Photo credit: Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Denver Tech Center North is one of Marriott's more than 1,000 upper midscale properties. Marriott International

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