Skift Travel News Blog

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

Hotels

U.S. Hotel Job Growth Cooled Off in March

1 year ago

Hotels added more than 5,000 new jobs in the United States in March, a big drop from the previous month’s increase, and a possible sign the sector’s job growth is slowing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed, in its monthly jobs report released on Friday, that leisure and hospitality — which includes hotels — added 72,000 jobs in November, representing roughly 31 percent of total jobs created in the U.S. Leisure and hospitality had added 105,000 jobs in February — 14,000 came from hotels. Overall employment in leisure and hospitality is 2.2 percent, or 368,000 jobs, below February 2020 levels.

The U.S. added 236,000 new jobs in March, a slight decrease from what economists had projected. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly from 3.6 percent in February to 3.5 percent.

Hotel staff
Workers at a hotel reception desk (Source: Getty Images)

Travel Technology

Private Equity-Backed Cendyn Names New CEO to Lead Hotel Tech Company

1 year ago

Cendyn, a software company that offers customer relationship management, digital marketing, and operations tools to hotels, has hired a new chief executive. 

The company said Monday that Jack Blaha has taken the role for the Florida-based company. He replaces Tim Sullivan, who had started as CEO in June 2020, a year after the company gained new ownership.

Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, became the majority owner of Cendyn in June 2019 through an undisclosed investment. 

Cendyn acquired Rainmaker, a hotel revenue management service, shortly after with that financial support. It acquired NextGuest, a long-time rival, in February 2021. Cendyn also in the last year merged with Pegasus, a central reservation system that had merged in 2019 with Travel Tripper with backing from Accel-KKR

And Cendyn acquired DigitalHotelier last year to expand its distribution and eCommerce capabilities. 

In addition to those business deals over the past couple of years, Cendyn said it has expanded in India and Asia Pacific. Cendyn said it has tens of thousands of customers in 143 countries

Blaha has previously worked for tech companies including Khoros, Lone Wolf Technologies, PeopleAdmin, and Aptean.

Cendyn said that Blaha will lead plans for continued strategic growth as hotels, resorts, and casinos invest in integrated technology and digitization.

Hotels

Hotels Record Tepid Increase in Job Growth

1 year ago

Hotels added 26,000 new jobs in the United States in November, a small increase from the previous month despite the overall strong job growth numbers for the U.S. economy, especially the leisure and hospitality industry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed, in its monthly jobs report released on Friday, that leisure and hospitality — which includes hotels — added 88,000 jobs in November, representing roughly a third of total jobs created in the U.S. Leisure and hospitality added only 35,000 jobs in October — 20,000 came from hotels. Overall employment in leisure and hospitality is 5.8 percent, or 980,000 jobs, below February 2020 levels.

The U.S. added 263,000 new jobs in November, significantly better than the 200,00 new jobs economists projected. The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent.

Hotel staff worker
Hotels are still struggling to solve the problems of staff shortages (Flickr/Hashoo Foundation USA)

Travel Technology

Former Sabre CEO Sam Gilliland Hired to Lead Airline Software Company Accelya

2 years ago

Sam Gilliland, who was the CEO of Sabre Corporation for 10 years, is taking the top role at Accelya.

The Spanish company, which makes software for the airline industry, said Monday that Gilliland has been hired as CEO. Gilliland replaces Jim Davidson, who is stepping into the role of vice chairman.

Accelya was acquired in 2019 by Vista Equity Partners, a software investment fund. Through that investment, Accelya bought Farelogix in 2020. Accelya has more than 250 airline clients and nearly 2,500 employees. 

Most recently, Gilliland was the CEO of Cherwell Software, a Colorado company owned by Ivanti that makes information technology software for corporations.

Gilliland had spent 25 years at Sabre, starting as a software engineer. He was named chairman and CEO of Sabre in 2003 and exited in the role in 2013. Skift had named him one of the highest paid executives in travel while he was there. He had led more than 10,000 employees in 60 countries. 

Online Travel

Booking.com Says It Ran Into Snag Hiring People Who Live in Iran

2 years ago

Amsterdam-based Booking.com said it had to rescind several job offers made to Iranians living in Iran because of complexities in the international hiring and relocation process of would-be employees living in that country.

Booking.com headquarters
Booking.com headquarters as seen in 2019. Source: Booking.com

A Booking Holdings spokesperson responded to a Skift inquiry on the subject after Maede Rajabi posted on LinkedIn that “Booking.com rescinded my signed contract one day before my flight to Amsterdam and 5 days before my start date. It happened on September 9, 2022. Same scenario happened to other people from my country, Iran.”

Rajabi introduced the post as “a short story about racism in Booking.com.”

The Booking.com spokesperson said the online booking company “employs many Iranian nationals.”

But hiring Iranians currently living in Iran apparently ran afoul of certain regulations or possibly sanctions against Iran, although the company didn’t cite specifics.

The spokesperson said “mobility vendors [were] unable to effect the necessary part of the hiring and relocation process.”

Booking.com stated that the issue had nothing to do with discrimination, and it is looking into ways to assist Iranians who were subject to the rescinded job offers.

Travel Agents

Travel Agency Fora Raises $13.5 Million With Aim to Attract More Prospective Agents

2 years ago

Fora, a New York-based travel agency that launched last year, announced on Thursday it raised $13.5 million.

Venture capital companies Heartcore Capital and Forerunner co-led the Series A funding. Fora, which has raised a total of $18.5 million to date, aims to use the funding to invest heavily in infrastructure, including its own booking management system. Co-founder Evan Frank said the funds will also help the company recruit more prospective travel agents, as nearly half of U.S. travelers plan to use agents coming out of the pandemic. Fora estimates that 97 percent of its roughly 500 advisors had never previously sold travel.

“We are looking to create an environment to empower thousands — hundreds of thousands — of people to participate in the travel industry in a way not previously was not possible,” said Frank. “We want to welcome the next 100,000 travel agents into the industry.”

Tourism

New Visit Philly CEO Named

2 years ago

Visit Philadelphia has announced it’s appointed Angela Val to serve as its president and CEO, making her the first Black woman ever to run the organization.

Val, who will start her new roles on June 27, has extensive experience in Philadelphia’s tourism and hospitality industry. She is making her return to Visit Philadelphia, where she worked for 17 years before leaving to become chief administrative officer at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, a position she held for four years. Val is the current chief operating officer at Tempest, a marketing agency that helps destination marketing organizations work with local communities.

She also recently concluded her role as the executive director of Ready. Set. Philly!, an initiative between the City of Philadelphia and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia that was launched to spark the city’s economic recovery from the pandemic.  

“I am thrilled to return to Visit Philadelphia as president and CEO, so I can give back to a city and organization that has given me so much,” Val said in a statement.

“As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, I look forward to working with our partners to build back the tourism industry, reinvigorate the economy and restore the vibrancy of Philadelphia, which is so essential to attracting leisure travelers.”

Val will succeed Jeff Guaracino, who passed away last December following a battle with cancer.

Credit: Visit Philadelphia

Read Visit Philadelphia's Press Release