Skift Travel News Blog

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

Tourism

Dubai’s Global Hotel Alliance Sees Upside From Asia’s Reopening

4 months ago

United Arab Emirates-headquartered Global Hotel Alliance has seen a strong post-pandemic travel rebound from its Asian properties, as well as a shift in travel behaviors.

Its hotels in Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand, reported growth in revenue of 535 percent and 345 percent respectively for the first nine months of this year, compared to the same period in 2021.

Total revenue generated by the 22 million members of its GHA Discovery loyalty program reached $900 million for the period, up 68 percent on 2021, and reaching 84 percent of pre-pandemic levels on a like- for-like basis.

August was also the alliance’s second strongest-performing month in its history.

The umbrella organization for independent hospitality brands was also boosted by improved performances across Europe. Earlier this year Madrid-headquartered NH Group joined Global Hotel Alliance, bringing with it over 350 hotels and 10 million loyalty program members

London experienced growth of 300 percent.

More than 60 percent of GHA Discovery revenues came from international stays, with this proportion growing strongly over the summer months. The highest-spending international travelers came from the U.S. ($76 million), UK ($71m) and Germany ($60m).

The average length of stays across all markets globally increased further in the third quarter of 2022 versus the same period in 2021. Europe, for example, has a 64 percent increase. The average was 20 percent.

Business travel has fared less well. The average daily rate for corporate transactions went up by 27 percent In the first half of the year, compared to the 2021 first quarter, but international business travel lagged at 60 percent in the first half of 2022, but the company said it was expecting that figure to increase in the second half. However, Domestic business travel has recovered to 90 percent of 2019 levels.

Travel Booking

Citi Is Developing a Travel Platform with Booking.com

6 months ago

Financial services firm Citi is launching Citi Travel later this year. The travel booking platform will be powered by Booking.com and its Rocket Travel subsidiary.

The portal is set to replace its existing City Thank You Travel Center website, and will offer hotel, air, and car hire options.

“Leveraging the scale and range of Booking.com, the new Citi Travel provides an unmatched breadth of hotel reservation options,” the companies said in a joint statement. “With more than 1.4 million hotels available worldwide — ranging from boutiques to beloved chains — there is the right option for every budget, vacation type and preference.”

Banks are continuing to develop travel products to gain more loyalty from their customers, giving them more options to spend their points. Capital One has recently invested in Hopper as well as private jet startup Aero.

Earlier this year, JP Morgan bought luxury travel agency Frosch, while in Nov. 2021, U.S. Bancorp acquired Will Smith-Backed TravelBank for $200 million.

Airlines

JetBlue Adds Blade Helicopter Flights to Loyalty Program

8 months ago

Getting a quick lift on a Blade Air Mobility helicopter from New York’s JFK airport to Manhattan? Soon travelers will also get perks in JetBlue Airways’ loyalty program, TrueBlue, on their flight.

JetBlue will offer top tier Mosaic TrueBlue members a “limited number” of free seats on Blade’s flights between its heliport on East 34th Street in Manhattan and JFK airport, and all TrueBlue members will have access to “preferred pricing” for their first Blade airport flight. What is not clear is whether Blade flights will earn TrueBlue members points in the loyalty program. Blade will be “integrated” into the TrueBlue program — suggesting more benefits are to come — by early 2023.

(Blade)

“This partnership with Blade will help us further evolve and enhance our TrueBlue program so our
most loyal customers can enjoy more perks more often,” JetBlue Vice President of Loyalty and Partnerships Chris Buckner said.

The JetBlue-Blade partnership evokes a similar image to that of the electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, aircraft the likes of American Airlines, United Airlines, and others see as the future of connecting people to a major airport in a large metropolitan area. However, Blade, which operates traditional gas-powered helicopters, is very much of the past generation of polluting, noisy, and exclusive urban air transport that the eVTOL industry is trying to distance itself from. Tickets on Blade flights from either JFK or Newark airports to Manhattan begin at $195 per person; the cost of a train ride from either airport ranges from $15.50 to $18.75 per person.

Blade will begin offering “continuous” service 13 hours a day, six days a week between Manhattan and JFK on June 27.

Airlines

United’s MileagePlus Adds Unique Airline Partner, JSX

8 months ago

Travelers on private jet-like airline JSX just got another perk beyond skipping busy airport terminals and security queues: they can now earn points in United Airlines’ MileagePlus loyalty program.

JSX flyers can earn up to 100 percent of the miles flown in MileagePlus under the new partnership unveiled Thursday. The pact is the first for United’s loyalty program with a non-traditional airline operator, and the second for JSX, which already partners with JetBlue Airways’ TrueBlue program.

(JSX)

“This unique agreement presents an unmatched opportunity for JSX customers to earn MileagePlus miles and redeem them for travel to United’s global network of destinations,” said Luc Bondar, president of MileagePlus at United, in a statement.

JSX and United said “more cooperation” is planned and will be announced later this year.

JSX describes itself as providing “hop-on jet service.” In practice, the airline sells a premium onboard product on 30-seat Embraer regional jets that fly to and from private jet terminals, which allows travelers to avoid busy airport terminals. It also provides private jet charters. JSX primarily flies between airports in northern and southern California, but also offers a growing network in Colorado, Florida, and Texas.

Hotels

Marriott Partners With Alipay In China on Bonvoy Perks

8 months ago

Marriott International has signed a new partnership with China’s Ant Group, which owns online payment platform Alipay, to help it drive more business in the region.

Marriott will now give Alipay members a range of benefits when they sign up to Marriott’s loyalty program Bonvoy, including digital coupons for an afternoon tea at its hotels, or the chance to enter a lucky draw by spending at the hotel.

Breakfast promotions are also offered at various cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Sanya.

The tie-up is the latest deal in its plan to leverage loyalty to bolster its presence in across Asia.

The hotel group already has a joint venture with e-commerce giant Alibaba in China. Marriott considers its storefront on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel division where it sells its global hotel inventory, to be a direct-booking channel with costs that are lower than going through online travel agency distribution.

Marriott said this latest Alipay partnership is in addition to the 10-plus million newly-enrolled members the company has gained through various channels since 2017 in China, including through Fliggy, as well as other Ant initiatives.

Marriott International has 450 operating hotels across 23 brands in Greater China.

“To support the recovery of the travel industry, we are looking to offer exclusive travel experiences for high-net-worth members using Alipay,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International.

Marriott has previously launched Korea’s first-ever co-branded hotel credit cards, and two new co-branded cards have also been launched in Japan.

“Marriott Bonvoy really is at the heart of our consumer strategy and we are doing everything we can to grow the program,” Bart Buiring, chief sales and marketing officer for Asia Pacific at Marriott International, previously said.

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