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Skift Travel News Blog

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

Short-Term Rentals

Blueground Partners With Mitsubishi Estate To Enter Japan

6 months ago

Blueground, the New York-based operator of furnished, flexible rentals for stays lasting 30 days or more, entered its first franchise agreement with real estate and hospitality company Mitsubishi Estate to introduce Blueground in Japan. 

This comes under Blueground’s partner network launched in summer 2023, to help the company expand beyond its current 15,000 apartments in 32 cities —Mitsubishi Estate will establish a network of 13,000 furnished apartments in major Japanese cities. Mitsubishi Estate will have access to Blueground’s toolkit that includes its proprietary technology, a dynamic pricing model, and the Guest App, and a dedicated implementation team. 

“We are excited to bring Blueground to Japan in collaboration with such a reputable partner,” Christos Misailidis, Blueground’s chief strategic partnerships officer said in a statement. “Mitsubishi Estate’s unparalleled understanding of the Japanese market combined with our innovative technology and expertise in flexible  stays guarantees the success of this new project.”

Blueground, founded in 2013, offers a curated global network of furnished rentals for extended stays. In May 2023, Blueground acquired German rival housing platform Nestpick to launch its partner network listing vetted third-party inventory — bringing over portfolios from companies including Kasa and Placemakr and now the Mitsubishi Estate. 

Airlines

IDEAS: Spotify and Delta Explore Culture and Creativity With New Video Series

6 months ago

Spotify and Delta Air Lines have launched a new video series as part of their on-going partnership.

The content – which is being coined as a new social docu-series – will follow creatives as they travel to a twin city that shares similar cultural and historical identities, where they will be hosted by local artists as they explore the destination’s food, culture, and history. 

According to a release from the streaming service, the Passport Sessions has been designed to showcase ‘how artists and their music can influence cultures on the other side of the world.’ 

“Music has a powerful way of uniting people, whether through shared musical tastes, influences, favorite artists, or culture,” said Enrique Marquez Paris, Songwriter and Publishing Relations Manager at Spotify in the release. 

“By bringing together emerging artists, songwriters, and producers from different parts of the world, The Passport Sessions give a rare glimpse into the songwriting process, showing firsthand how music and travel can inspire new connections and, ultimately, new art.”

The series will be available for passengers to watch for free in-flight, and you can take a look at episode one below.


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.

Airlines

IDEAS: Emirates Expands Vegan Catering Options on Flights

6 months ago

Emirates is set to introduce a selection of new vegan dishes onboard its aircraft and at lounges later this year, due to a 40% increase in customer demand for plant-based meals. 

Credit: Emirates

The carrier saw over 450,000 plant-based meals served onboard in 2023 – an increase from 280,000 in 2022 – with the biggest increase in vegan meal consumption seen in Economy Class.

The new additions to the menu will join more than 300 vegan recipes that are already available in rotation across 140 destinations, and will feature a selection of options from well-known global brands including Beyond Meat, Pantai and Linnolat, amongst others.


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.

Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Sets February Date for Alaska Merger Vote

6 months ago

Hawaiian Airlines shareholders will vote in February on Alaska Airlines’ proposed $1.9 billion takeover of the carrier.

Shareholders are set to vote on February 16 on merger plan that would see them receive $18 for each share in Honolulu-based Hawaiian, according to a securities filing on Tuesday. The purchase price is a 270% premium over the carrier’s share price on December 1, the last trading day before the deal was unveiled on December 3.

A Hawaiian Airbus A330 at San Diego Airport
(San Diego International Airport/Flickr)

Under the terms of the deal, Alaska plans merge with Hawaiian but — in a rare move for a U.S. airline — continue to operate both brands. The merged carrier would be based in Seattle and led by Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci.

Approval by Hawaiian shareholders is a key step towards finalizing the merger. However, the deal still must secure antitrust and U.S. Department of Transportation approval before it can close. Both of those are big questions given the Biden Administration’s animosity towards further consolidation in the airline industry; for example, the Biden Justice Department sued to block the merger of JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines.

Alaska and Hawaiian hope to close their merger within 12-18 months, or by June 2025.

Airlines

Jetstar Asia’s New CEO Is Qantas Veteran John Simeone

6 months ago

Jetstar Asia, the low-cost carrier based in Singapore, has appointed John Simeone as its new CEO. Barathan Pasupathi, the outgoing CEO who led the airline for 12 years, will step down from his role on March 1 to “pursue other opportunities.”

Simeone, currently serving as the senior vice president for Asia at the parent company Qantas, brings over 30 years of aviation experience to his new role. Jetstar Asia Chairman Dennis Choo acknowledged Simeone’s extensive knowledge of the Singapore and Asian aviation markets.

Commenting on his appointment, Simeone stated, “My focus will be to continue the exciting journey we’ve started, building capacity and connectivity out of Changi Airport so we can keep offering great low fares to amazing destinations across the region.”

Last month, Jetstar Asia announced the launch of flights from Singapore to Wuxi in China’s Jiangsu province, establishing itself as the sole airline operating this route from Singapore.

Barathan Pasupathi had previously emphasized the significance of the Chinese market for Jetstar, with the airline also expanding its presence by introducing flights to Haikou early last year.

In addition to the focus on China, Jetstar Asia witnessed the reintroduction of popular destinations in Japan and responded to growing demand by increasing weekly flights to popular hubs such as Bangkok, Bali, and Phuket.

Airlines

IDEAS: Korean Air’s New In-Flight Safety Video Stars Virtual Humans

6 months ago

Korean Air has released a new in-flight safety video starring virtual humans.

Credit: Korean Air

The new video, which takes place in the virtual ‘Korean Air Safety Lounge’ sees ‘Rina’ – a virtual human donning a Korean Air Flight Attendant uniform – giving the safety demonstration to a host of virtual passengers.

The video covers the usual safety topics that passengers will be accustomed to, including where to store your carry-on, the functionality of the seatbelts and the locations of the emergency exits, whilst utilizing the power of digital design to interweave animations and interesting creative elements.

According to a release from the carrier, the first of its kind video aims to ‘reach out to its diverse customer base of all ages and cultural backgrounds’ and ‘garner passengers’ attention and increase viewers’ engagement levels.’

The new safety video is now being played on all flights, and is available for you to take a look at below.


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

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas Will Relaunch Its Loyalty Program

6 months ago

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is revamping its loyalty program in March, replacing its Grazie Rewards program.

The new loyalty program, Venetian Rewards, will let travelers earn points on gaming and spending on hotel stays, dining, entertainment, and spa services. Potential rewards will include room upgrades, free suite nights to share, free valet service, and priority access to resort amenities.

The move comes as rival MGM Resorts has inked a partnership with the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

The Venetian has just finished a $1 billion redevelopment and the opening of Sphere at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.

Airlines

IDEAS: Malaysia Airlines to Offer Educational Content as Part of In-Flight Entertainment Package

6 months ago

Malaysia Airlines is introducing ‘Education on the Go’ content as part of in-flight entertainment offering.

The new initiative, which has been launched in collaboration with Universiti Malaya Centre for Continuing Education, will allow passengers travelling with the carrier to access a selection of educational content, covering topics from lifestyle courses to business modules.

The new content is available under the Lifestyle category of the in-flight entertainment systems TV Show content selection.

Prof. Madya Dr. Shahrul Mizan Bin Ismail, Dean from Universiti Malaya Centre for Continuing Education, said in a press release, “We are thrilled to partner with Malaysia Airlines to bring Education on the Go to a wider audience. Be adaptable, flexible and never stop learning. The rate of change will never stop and neither should you.”


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

Travel Counsellors Acquires Travel Sales Platform Planisto

6 months ago

Travel Counsellors, a UK-based tech platform for travel agents, has acquired Planisto, a similar company that specializes in trip planning and booking. 

Terms and acquisition price were not disclosed. 

Travel Counsellors provides a platform that home-based leisure and corporate travel agents can use for trip planning and booking. Users who make bookings through the platform earn 60% of the profit, while the company gets 40%, according to the website. 

The company said it has more than 1,900 agents worldwide. 

Belgium-based Planisto offers travel sellers with tools to plan trips, create itineraries, and book travel on behalf of clients. The platform was established by travel tech development company EURAM.

Three of Planisto’s developers are also joining the Travel Counsellors team, the buyer said.

The acquisition is part of the company’s plan to invest £15 million in tech and AI this year, according to a post on Linkedin by Travel Counsellors CEO Steve Byrne.

Travel Counsellors made its first acquisition in May 2023 when it bought UK-based Holidaysplease, a similar tech platform for travel agents. 

Private equity firm Vitruvian Partners acquired Travel Counsellors in 2018.

Hotels

IDEAS: Four Seasons Introduces In-Room Shopping Experience at New York City Hotel

6 months ago

Four Seasons New York Downtown has introduced a new in-room shopping experience that will allow guests to shop the Hotel’s most sought-after retail items from the comfort of their rooms. 

Credit: Four Seasons

In-Room Essentials, which is available now, will enable guests to browse and purchase a curated selection of products – including skincare products from the Hotel’s Spa, electronics, children’s toys and other premium gifts – from the comfort of their room via a QR code. 

The shopping experience is available Monday to Sunday between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, with all purchases made delivered to guests’ rooms at their convenience.


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.