Skift Take

Today's podcast looks at Hilton's latest investment insights, United's new pooling loyalty program, and the unstoppable power of Chinese travelers.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

Listen to the day’s top travel stories in under four minutes every weekday.

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, March 22. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Hilton recently held a private presentation for investment analysts at the Conrad Hilton in Washington, D.C. Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill lists the three biggest takeaways from the presentation’s 223 slides. 

First, Hilton claims the world’s largest hotel pipeline. The company said it controls about 20% of the rooms under construction worldwide. Hilton added its loyalty members are responsible for 64% of its total room nights booked, which it claims is an industry high. The company said it’s aiming to get that number up to 75%.

In addition, Hilton said it’s increasing its investment in technology to help sell more ancillary services to guests. Only 13% of its bookings include these upsells. 

Next, United Airlines will allow friends and family to create joint accounts for pooling frequent flier miles through its loyalty program, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. 

Any adult United MileagePlus user can be “pool leader” and create a joint account on United’s website. United MileagePlus Chief Operating Officer Luc Bondar said the move is intended to make it easier for friends and family to use miles when booking flights. Bondar added United’s decision was driven by a surge in family and friends travel since the pandemic. 

Maharishi reports United is the first of the Big Four U.S. airlines to allow pooling miles with no extra fees. 

Finally, China’s economy is going through a rough patch now, but that probably won’t stop large numbers of Chinese from traveling overseas, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam. 

Several executives speaking at the recent ITB Berlin travel show said those in China with the means to travel internationally will do so. One CEO stated about 100 million Chinese travelers have enough money for a long distance trip. In addition, Philip Dickinson, an executive at Visit Qatar, said the Gulf State has seen a surge in Chinese tourists since Beijing lifted its group travel ban on Qatar last August. 

However, one obstacle for Chinese tourism to the West has been flight availability. Flight schedules from China to Germany, the U.S. and the U.K., among other destinations, haven’t recovered to pre-Covid levels. 

Producer/Presenter: Jane Alexander

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Tags: china outbound, friends and family, hilton, loyalty programs, united, united airlines

Photo credit: The sixth floor of Ka Laʻi Waikīkī Beach, LXR Hotels & Resorts, a Hilton property. Hilton

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