Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Airlines

JAL Is Testing Flight Subscriptions Again With the Help of a Japanese Startup

16 hours ago

Between August and November 2021, Japan Airlines (JAL) began a three-month promotion, making non-refundable flight tickets available in a discounted wholesale deal to travelers booking trips. 

On June 22, the promotion returned, with some small changes. Up to 1,000 customers will be able to buy flight subscriptions, giving them access to tickets on up to 143 domestic routes.

The promotion is run by a Nagasaki-based startup, KabuK Style, which has a consumer-facing brand called HafH (Home Away From Home). Pricing is at ¥28,800, ¥39,800, or ¥82,000 monthly, or approximately $213, $295, or $606. This time one-way and multi-city reservations are possible, unlike last time, which only allowed round trips on 10 routes.

The project is the latest example of travel companies testing the subscription model. For more on KabuK Style’s earlier promotion with JAL, see Skift’s earlier article.

Online Travel

Online Travel Agency Kiwi Receives $105 Million in Investment

2 days ago

Kiwi.com, an online travel agency based in Brno, Czechia, said on Wednesday it had received an investment of $105 million (€100 million) from an unnamed “preeminent global institutional investor.”

The company didn’t disclose the terms of the deal. General Atlantic had invested in the company before the pandemic.

One of Kiwi.com’s signature offerings is “virtual interlining,” where it pieces together itineraries from different airlines that may not have formal code-sharing agreements. It offers insurance and other assistance to help knit together the trips and handle service complaints when things go awry. But the company also offers other trip components for sale, such as hotel stays and bus trips.

Kiwi.com reported rapid growth before the pandemic, but when Covid struck, many online forums lit up with complaints about the company’s customer service. The company has said it has put better procedures in place to handle customer needs, and it also says that it has returned to growth.

See the press release

Hotels

Amadeus Wins Tech Contract With Top U.S. Hotel Manager Aimbridge

2 days ago

Aimbridge Hospitality, the largest U.S. company dedicated to running hotels on its own and on behalf of owners, said on Wednesday it had signed an exclusive contract with Amadeus, the Madrid-based travel tech giant, to provide business intelligence tools across its organization.

“The market conditions we face as a business today continue to evolve at a more rapid pace than we’ve previously experienced,” said Andrew Rubinacci, EVP Commercial & Revenue Strategy, Aimbridge Hospitality, in a statement. “Having access to our portfolio performance enables us to make more effective revenue decisions down to the individual property level and aid in strategic decision making.”

Aimbridge has more than 1,500 hotels across the U.S. and in 23 countries and will use Amadeus’s software to monitor performance, enhance forecasts, and track market shifts. It will use Amadeus’s tools, which include Demand360, Agency360, and RevenueStrategy360. Some of these tools were first acquired by Amadeus through its acquisition of TravelClick several years ago. Amadeus has since refined and integrated the software.

Hotels

Marriott’s Vacation Rentals Unit Expands Down Under

3 days ago

Homes & Villas by Marriott International has just expanded into Australia and New Zealand, marking the vacation rental operation’s debut in the Asia Pacific region.

The move adds more than 350 upscale homes to its network. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Orange in Australia and Auckland and Queenstown in New Zealand.

Marriott has been on a big expansion push for Homes & Villas, with 30-fold growth since 2019 to more than 50,000 units.

Listen to Homes & Villas Vice President Jennifer Hsieh explain the company’s strategy via the Skift Podcast: How Hotels and Short-Term Rentals Fit Together.

Hotels

Inspirato Adds a Third Travel Subscription Product

2 weeks ago

Inspirato, a subscription business primarily for stays at luxury vacation homes and hotels, debuted on Thursday a third subscription product.

The new Inspirato Select product lets subscribers pick 3 trips from a list of more than 500,000 for an annual fee of $24,000, plus a $2,000 enrollment fee. The cost includes nightly rates, taxes, and fees but not transportation, meals, or other aspects of a trip.

Tapping into the corporate incentives market, Inspirato’s new Select product can be used as a perk for employees or business partners.

Ahead of going public in February, the Denver-based company said it had boosted its paying subscribers by 12 percent, to 13,191, in the nine months to September 30. The new product may further increase subscriptions.

Hotels

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Announces New CEO

2 weeks ago

Marriott Vacations Worldwide said on Thursday that CEO Stephen Weisz will retire at year-end and that current president, John E. Geller, Jr., will assume the role of president and CEO on January 1, 2023.

Weisz served in the role of CEO since the company spun out in 2011. He notably led the 2018 acquisition of ILG and the rollout of a guest loyalty program.

Geller has been president since 2021 and was previously the company’s chief financial officer. He also helped lead the spin-off of the company from Marriott International in 2011 and played a key role in the acquisition of ILG.

Hotels

Travelodge Names New CEO Jo Boydell

2 weeks ago

Craig Bonnar resigned this month as CEO of Travelodge. and yesterday the UK’s second-largest hotel chain after Premier Inn, appointed Jo Boydell, its one-time chief financial officer, to the top role.

Bonnar had been the top boss of the budget hotel chain since late 2020, steering the company through the turbulence of the pandemic.

Boydell has been with Travelodge since 2013 in a variety of finance roles.

Travelodge’s new CEO is Jo Boydell. Source: Travelodge

Hotels

Marriott CEO Tony Capuano Sees “Extraordinary Pricing”

4 weeks ago

Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano sat down with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the 2022 World Economic Forum to discuss what the company is seeing in travel demand.

  • Capuano says revenue-per-room is off the charts.
  • Margins were back to 2019 levels in April in the U.S., which represents about 70 percent of its business.
  • Optimism is deserved because international tourism will boost demand further once pandemic restrictions are loosened.
  • In the U.S., Marriott is back to the same level of open positions as in 2019.

Take a look and listen:

Online Travel

Travelers Continue Searching Online Booking Sites in Large Numbers

4 weeks ago

Website and mobile traffic analytics firm SimilarWeb said on Thursday that traveler booking patterns remain strong. The company collects a mix of raw data from brands such as Airbnb, Southwest Airlines, and Vrbo, and estimated data for its methodology.

Vacation rental activity remains strong with Airbnb April traffic up 239 percent from the April 2020 trough and Vrbo traffic up 323 percent.

SimilarWeb’s other data speaks for itself. Click the charts for a larger view.

Tags: news blog

Tourism

Japan Reopens to Some Overseas Visitors Starting June 10

4 weeks ago

Japan said on Thursday it would reopen its borders to international visitors on group trips, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The move follows an earlier announcement this week that tourists that test negative and live in specified countries with strong vaccine programs and relatively low rates of spread of coronavirus would be exempted from arrival testing and quarantine as of June 1, Travel Voice Japan reported.

There’s a limit on the program.

The 20,000 cap on daily visitors is below the average of 87,000 a day in 2019. At best, “the economic impact would be only one-fourth of that in 2019,” said Toshihiro Nagahama, an economist at the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute Inc.

WSJ

U.S., Australia, Thailand, and Singapore are among the selected countries to start.

From a buying power perspective, now is a great time for U.S.-dollar-carrying tourists to visit Japan, as the buying power of the dollar stretches far because of currency exchange shifts.

Read more at the WSJ

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