Skift Take

Today's podcast discusses Airbnb's AI investment, Riyadh Air's ambitions, and Turkey's tourism cooling.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Wednesday, November 15. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Airbnb is looking to further incorporate artificial intelligence into its business. And on Tuesday, it announced it has acquired GamePlanner.AI, a company founded by a creator of Siri, writes Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes. 

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said his company has been rebuilding its app with a focus on AI, and that the GamePlanner.AI team will focus on accelerating certain projects. Airbnb recently unveiled a new AI-powered photo tour tool for hosts. 

Airbnb didn’t reveal the acquisition price, but a CNBC report valued the deal at close to $200 million. 

Next, the chief operating officer of Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new airline, believes it can take advantage of the growing travel demand in the kingdom. But the company isn’t looking to compete with Emirates to be a global hub, writes Middle East Reporter Josh Corder.

Riyadh Air Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew told Skift the airline’s main goal is to make going from point-to-point easier for travelers. He added he doesn’t see Riyadh Air, which is scheduled to launch in the middle of 2025, becoming a super connector. Riyadh Air hopes to fly to more than 100 destinations by the end of the decade. 

Meanwhile, Corder reports Riyadh Air hasn’t announced any orders at the ongoing Dubai Airshow. Bellew said the company is primarily focused on recruiting staff at the moment.

Finally, travelers haven’t been booking trips to Turkey in large numbers recently, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Several tour operator executives said they’ve seen bookings for Turkish trips dry up. Kelly Torrens, Kensington Tours’ vice president of product, said many travelers don’t feel comfortable traveling in the region despite Turkey not being near the Israel-Hamas conflict. Jacada Travel founder Alex Malcolm said he’s had to explain the situation to travelers to make them feel comfortable about traveling in Turkey. 

G Adventures Vice President Yves Marceau said if bookings continue to remain weak, tour operators will have to trim their inventory in Turkey. 


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Tags: airbnb, artificial intelligence, Riyadh Air, skift podcast, tour operators, turkey

Photo credit: An Airbnb billboard on a London street. Skift

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