Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

IDEAS: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Promotes Inclusivity with New Certification

6 months ago

In the United States, 1 in 6 people have sensory needs or sensitivities, and 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism, so the importance of accessible spaces has never been so important. With this in mind, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has become a Certified Autism Center™, thanks to a new partnership with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

Credit: Kennedy Space Center Complex

The new partnership aims to ensure that sensory-sensitive visitors can enjoy the complex with confidence, with the center now able to provide on-site sensory guidance, designated low sensory areas, a sensory guide, and newly trained team members to ensure an inclusive experience for all guests.

“This certification is just one way we are working to ensure that Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is accessible to each of our guests,” said Therrin Protze, COO, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. 

“The extensive autism sensitivity and awareness training our staff has undergone has already impacted the way we interact with all families and children of all abilities, but specifically those with autism and other sensory sensitivities.”


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IDEAS: Park Hyatt New York Debuts Art Installation Created by Hyatt Colleague 

6 months ago

Park Hyatt New York has unveiled a new art installation from local contemporary abstract artist and hotel bellman for nine years, Jeffrey Okyere-Agyei.

Credit: Park Hyatt New York

The “Sankofa” art collection features a mixture of modern abstract art and Ghanaian cloth prints that have been created to highlight Okyere-Agyei’s ‘connection to his Ghanaian heritage while simultaneously representing an important cultural bridge between traditional African art and modern abstract expressionism’.

“My goal with this collection is to express my unique vision of creativity, thus further strengthening my connection between my love of abstract art and my African heritage,” says Okyere-Agyei.

“To be able to continue to tell my story to the guests of Park Hyatt New York, a place crucial to my personal journey, is incredibly humbling.”

Sankofa is a Ghanaian Akan/Twi word and symbol originating from Okyere-Agyei’s native country that represents the idea of gathering wisdom and learning from the past to create a better present and future, and forms part of a larger collection of symbols known as Adinkra created by Ghanaian craftsmen used in textiles and pottery.

Credit: Park Hyatt New York

“As part of what has become a tradition within the Park Hyatt New York family, we’re excited to feature yet another impressive and personal collection from Jeffrey, while also providing a unique and immersive experience to our guests,” said Park Hyatt New York General Manager, Laurent Ebzant.

“It’s an honor to witness Jeffrey’s art process as he creates such thought-provoking art that celebrates his native Ghana, and it’s our pleasure to continue to share his talent with all who walk through our doors. We look forward to seeing what else he has in store for Park Hyatt New York and our guests.”


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IDEAS: IHG Hotels & Resorts Launches Initiative to Support Under-Represented Groups in Hospitality Industry

6 months ago

IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) have launched a new program – known as IHG LIFT – which has been designed to create more hotel development support for historically under-represented groups within the hospitality industry.

Credit: IHG Hotels & Resorts

The program will include support, access to capital and guidance along the hotel lifecycle, and is open to owners who qualify in the U.S. and Canada. 

According to a release from IHG, the new program will ‘unlock common barriers to hotel ownership among these groups and empower diverse owner-entrepreneurs for success.’

As part of the program, IHG has partnered with two leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College – and will commit more than $30 million to the initiative over the next five years.

“As our industry grows, we need to keep our focus on enabling more success for our diverse ownership base. Barriers such as a lack of access to capital and the right networks put such owners at a disadvantage. The IHG LIFT program is specifically designed to help ease the path to ownership and ultimately support owners. Diversifying ownership is not only better for IHG, it also lifts up our entire industry,” said Julienne Smith, chief development officer, Americas at IHG Hotels & Resorts.

IHG LIFT forms part of IHG’s forms part of its broader Journey to Tomorrow 2030 responsible business plan.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: San Francisco International Airport Embraces Pride with Themed Experiences

8 months ago

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has revealed the itinerary for the latest instalment of its ‘SFO Celebrates‘ program, which aims to bring San Francisco’s neighborhoods and cultural events to airport guests.

Credit: San Francisco International Airport

The Pride Series will feature live entertainment in Harvey Milk Terminal 1 to showcase the talent and creativity of San Francisco’s LGBTQIA+ community. 

In addition to the live activations in Harvey Milk Terminal 1 – which includes a Drag Extravaganza – there will also be Pride-themed photo stations in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, a performance by the world’s first LGBTQ-identified cheerleading team, Cheer San Francisco, and much more.

For more information about SFO Celebrates, please visit: www.flysfo.com/sfo-celebrates.


At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are celebrating the ideas that are redefining what it means to be truly innovative in the travel industry, including the organizations and projects leading to social change or benefiting communities.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.

Listen to the Skift Ideas Podcast here.

Travel Technology

Expedia Group Announces First Cohort for Startup Accelerator Focused on Underserved Travelers

1 year ago

Expedia Group has announced the first group of tech companies taking part in its new Open World Accelerator program.

The 12 startups were chosen from hundreds of applicants worldwide focused on building tech products meant to improve accessibility for underserved travelers. Each startup or small business must have been founded in the last 10 years and have a minimum viable product. 

The startup participants get technology and business development support, mentorship from Expedia Group personnel and outside experts, a non-equity grant, and access to the Expedia Group platform and products. 

The accelerator was announced in September. 

“Open World Accelerator is specifically designed to drive innovation in the industry, remove barriers to travel, and enable startups and SMBs to build capabilities on Expedia’s Open World™ technology platform that significantly improve the experience for every traveler,” Archana Arunkumar, Expedia Group’s senior vice president of platform, said in a statement at that time. 

Each of the startups are listed with a description on the Expedia website. 

Some of them include: 

  • Becoming Rentable, a short-term rental platform focused on accessible properties
  • Greether, a platform dedicated to women that connects travelers with tour guides
  • Misterb&b, a short-term rental platform dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community