Skift Take

Today's podcast discusses the outgoing Qatar Air CEO, Airbnb in South Africa, and Meta's AI travel shortfalls.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, October 24. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, one of most influential executives in the global airline industry, announced on Monday he’s stepping down, effective November 5, writes Reporter Ajay Awtaney. 

Under his leadership, the airline has grown from five aircraft in 1996 to 258 aircraft today. Al Baker also played a critical role in the opening of Hamad International Airport, which has served as Qatar Airways’ hub since 2014. Badr Mohammed al Meer, the airport’s current Chief Operating Officer, will replace Al Baker as Qatar Airways CEO. 

Next, Airbnb has emphasized South Africa in its quest to substantially boost international revenue. Indeed, the short-term rental company reported on Monday that host revenue in the country is 25% above pre-pandemic levels, writes Travel Experiences Reporter Selene Brophy. 

Brophy reports that users who listed South African properties on Airbnb generated roughly $211 million of revenue last year. The company said it has about 65,000 South African listings, triple the number it had in 2017. And Brophy notes Airbnb has plenty of room to expand in South Africa as the country has yet to make a full tourism recovery.  

Finally, Meta is among a growing number of companies that have released artificial intelligence-powered tools that can be used for travel. So how does Meta’s new chatbot perform? Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes explains what it gets wrong.

Dawes tested the chatbot on WhatsApp and noted several errors, including links to articles with outdated information. 

Dawes adds that Meta AI struggles with itinerary creation. He writes the chatbot produced a barebones itinerary following several steps, which included asking for details about restaurants and museum exhibits. 

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Tags: airbnb, meta, qatar, qatar airways, skift podcast, south africa, trip planning

Photo credit: A company portrait of outgoing Qatar Airlines CEO Akbar Al Baker. Qatar Airways / Qatar Airways

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