Skift Travel News Blog

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

Hotels

IDEAS: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi Launches Sustainable Art Awareness Project

4 months ago

A new exhibition featuring sustainable art will be opening at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, thanks to a new collaboration between the hotel, Artbooth Gallery, and a local artist. 

The public space at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island where the sustainable art will be displayed.
Credit: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

The ‘Sustainable Art Awareness Project’ features the works of Lebanese-born Emirati artist Noura Ali Ramahi, and has been designed to support local artists who embrace sustainable art practices. 

The exhibition will be on display within the public areas of the hotel through November 30, with a special event with the artist taking place on November 13 to coincide with World Kindness Day.

According to a release, Ramahi’s commitment to eco-friendly art mediums dates back to 2018, and sees her draw inspiration from her daily routine. However it is her use of everyday materials – such as wax paper from cheese, cardboard from packages, or retail paper bags – that give her work real impact.

“At Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, we are strongly committed to sustainability and run several ESG initiatives. As a part of our work with community, the artworks of local talents and artisans are featured throughout the Hotel, including more than 2,000 pieces displayed in public areas and in each guest room and suite. On this World Kindness Day, in collaboration with Noura Ali Ramahi we would like to inspire our guests to make a positive impact on our planet. Through Noura’s innovative use of materials and her profound message of kindness towards nature, she inspires us all to make a difference.” says Bob Suri, general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island.


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.

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Hints at Long-Term Rentals

5 months ago

Is Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky hinting at long-term rentals when he said to expect what could be “the biggest update to Airbnb ever?” 

Chesky told The Financial Times, Airbnb will venture beyond its core travel business. Starting next year, the online rental platform will expand into longer-term housing rentals and enhance its experiences and services offerings like “dining pop-ups.” He added, “there’s an eventual opportunity for Airbnb to become a greater part of your daily life. Not just once or twice a year.”

The Airbnb CEO believes that there’s an untapped market for rentals lasting up to a year, citing the shift towards remote work and extended stays. While only 18% of gross nights booked in the second quarter of this year were for stays longer than 30 days, Chesky sees great potential in extended stays.

This strategic shift comes as Airbnb faces scrutiny from regulators globally over its impact on housing availability in major cities. New York recently introduced rules restricting short-term rentals, but Chesky doesn’t consider it a precedent, emphasizing potential win-win solutions. Airbnb’s future plans also include dining experiences, he told The Financial Times.

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.

Hotels

IDEAS: Avani+ Luang Prabang Launches Wellness Package

6 months ago

With a report from the Global Wellness Institute projecting that the wellness tourism market will be worth $1.1trillion by 2025, it is evident that travelers are beginning to prioritize wellness-oriented getaways.

And as we look ahead to World Wellness Weekend this September, Avani+ Luang Prabang has launched a new wellness package, which will run 15-17 September 2023. 

Credit: Avani+ Luang Prabang

The resort, which is located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, launched the multi-day ‘Luang Prabang Serene Sojourn’ package to ‘help guests find their perfect peace.’

The package includes meditation classes with a senior monk, health-conscious meals, alms-giving ceremonies, and other immersive activities that have been designed to showcase the historical heritage of Laos whilst helping travelers find harmony and balance.

Credit: Avani+ Luang Prabang

The three-day, two-night Luang Prabang Serene Sojourn package starts from THB 11,940 (approx. USD 338) per night. You can find out more here.

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: Ocean Builders Looks to the Future with Floating SeaPods

6 months ago

Panama based Ocean Builders is building overwater floating pod homes with the mission to develop technology that makes oceans into an ‘eco-sustainable paradise.’

Credit: Ocean Builders

Each SeaPod Eco has 360° panoramic windows with ocean views and plenty of natural light. The structure is supported by an underwater network of air-filled steel tubes, and using the solar power it collects, the SeaPod generates a mild electrical current that works to attract calcium carbonate.

The calcium carbonate has a dual purpose, as it not only protects the structure from corrosion and rust, but also forms a building block for the production of coral. The company says that after several years coral growth can create a ‘thriving underwater ecosystem.’

Credit: Ocean Builders

Ocean Builders is also developing an incinerator that will turn toilet waste into non-toxic ash, with the heat generated used to make hot water. You can join the list to reserve – or purchase – a 73 square-meter SeaPod big enough for two people in Linton Bay Marina, Panama.

Credit: Ocean Builders

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: Graduate Hotels Launches “Generation G” Campaign

6 months ago

Nashville based Graduate Hotels has unveiled its latest brand campaign, “Generation G,” which aims to ‘celebrate the common threads of the lifelong student experience: curiosity, adventure, and enthusiasm for life.’ 

Credit: Graduate Hotels

Designed to shine a spotlight on ‘Generation G’ members, the campaign introduces us to a number of individuals through vignettes that offer a glimpse into their experiences and community connections.

You can take a look at the campaign video below:

“Graduate’s motto is ‘We Are All Students,’ a concept Generation G fully embodies. It’s the idea that no matter how young or old you are, or when you graduated college, there’s always more to discover. There’s always a new skill to learn, place to explore or dish to try. This campaign captures that spirit of undying curiosity, adventure and wonder that runs so deeply in college towns,” said Michaella Solar-March, chief marketing officer at Graduate Hotels. 

“Whether you’re about to start your freshman year, a parent dropping your kid off at school for the first time, a foodie, or an adventurer, young or old, you have a place at Graduate.” 

The campaign was produced by Known Studios, with the film directed by Daniel Iglesias Jr. The wider campaign also includes a bespoke playlist curated by DJ White Shadow, storytelling slams across the country with The Moth, a limited collectors’ edition Generation G zine available at each hotel, branded merchandise, and more.

The campaign is Graduate’s most ambitious and extensive campaign to date, as the brand looks ahead to its 10th anniversary in 2024. 


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.

Travel Technology

Juniper Group Acquires Hotel Tech Startup Vervotech

7 months ago

Vervotech, a startup that manages hotel room data, is the latest in a string of travel tech acquisitions by Juniper Group.

Juniper Group said Friday that it acquired the India-based startup. Terms were not disclosed. 

Vervotech’s platform analyzes hotel booking data to remove duplicate listings across suppliers, a problem that can lead to inaccuracies and missed bookings. 

Juniper Group is an operating portfolio of Vela Software, one of the six divisions of Constellation Software. Juniper Group also owns software companies Juniper Travel, TPF Software, T4W, Airport Information Systems, and IST Cruise Technology. It also acquired Peakwork in April

Juniper Group said it is focused on acquiring and building businesses in the industries of travel, aviation, banking, insurance, healthcare, public sector, and oil and gas. Juniper Group made six acquisitions in 2022 alone, according to its website. 

Vervotech will continue to operate independently.

Juniper Group said the Vervotech product compliments its booking engine, while the acquired company now has access to more resources for further research and development. 

Sanjay Ghare, co-founder and CEO of Vervotech, said in a statement that the company plans to expand in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

Hotels

IDEAS: Iberostar Looks to AI Solution to Reduce Food Waste

7 months ago

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts have cut food waste by 28% in the first half of 2023, thanks to an on-going partnership with Winnow and its artificial intelligence technology.

The partnership, which was announced in 2022, forms part of Iberostar’s Wave of Change program.

Credit: Iberostar

The Winnow technology has now been installed in 48 Iberostar hotels globally, achieving significant progress in Iberostar’s journey towards a waste-free future by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2030. 

Thanks to AI Technology, Iberostar has stated that it has saved 735,000 meals since January 2023 in its food waste journey, which equates to an 11% reduction in waste weight and 1,264 tons of CO2 saved.

“Our partnership with Winnow is a testament to our commitment towards a waste-free future. It is truly inspiring to see our chefs embrace the program and create tangible change. This achievement reinforces Iberostar’s position as a leader in creating a sustainable travel industry,” said Megan Morikawa, global sustainability director at Iberostar.


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

TUI Expands Branded Hotel Portfolio in Zanzibar

7 months ago

The TUI Group has kickstarted investment via its hotel fund, launched last year with Luxembourg-based Hansainvest, to acquire the 5-star “Emerald Zanzibar Resort & Spa” on Zanzibar in Tanzania.

TUI will take over the running of the hotel and all existing bookings at the beginning of 2024, bringing its branded hospitality offering in the East African country to four hotels.

The acquisition was the first investment made by the fund, according to Peter Krueger, group head for strategy and merger & acquisitions, who stated that TUI is set to add more hotels.

“The next concrete investment opportunities are already being pursued,” Krueger said, “The fund also intends to acquire a hotel property from TUI’s portfolio. This is currently operated by a TUI hotel brand and will continue to be run as such in the future by means of a management contract.”

TUI sees its hotel division as a key growth driver, having seen positive results over several quarters, with underlying earnings before interest and taxes for the last four quarters exceeding pre-Covid 2019 performance.

The company is set to release its third-quarter results on Wednesday, 9 August.

Short-Term Rentals

Sonder Sets Shareholder Meeting to Approve Stock Split to Stay on Nasdaq

7 months ago

Sonder shareholders will vote in a special meeting September 15 on whether to give the board approval to carry out a reverse stock split — with the split ratio subject to the board’s discretion.

Francis Davidson and Seth Borko
Sonder CEO Francis Davidson on stage with Skift Director of Research Seth Borko at the Skift Short-Term Rental Summit on June 7, 2023. Source: Skift

The idea behind the move is to keep Sonder, which went public in a special purpose acquisition company deal on January 19 2022, trading on Nasdaq after getting notified that the run might end because the share price was trading below $1 for an extended duration.

An affirmative vote seems like a done deal. The board will decide whether the split will be “1-for-10, 1-for-15, 1-for-20 or 1-for-25” etc., Sonder said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday.

The split will in itself will not impact the company’s market cap, which stood at a mere $125 million after Wednesday’s close.

Atreides controls 9.2% of the vote, Fidelity 7.3%, Spark Capital 6.7%, and CEO Francis Davidson 5.3%.

Plenty of SPACs had their share prices plummet after their market debuts in the last couple of years, as stock markets tired of speedy growth with accompanying large losse,s and looked for profitability. Sonder is not expected to be profitable for full year 2023.