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Skift Travel News Blog

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


IDEAS: Ras Al Khaimah Launches New Short-Form Creative Campaign

6 days ago

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has partnered with award-winning creative agency, Beautiful Destinations, on a new creative campaign featuring 30 pieces of short-form video content.

Credit: Beautiful Destinations x Ras Al Khaimah

The campaign has been designed to ‘reach travel audiences through ‘real’, snackable content, inspiring travelers as they begin their research, which is increasingly starting – and staying – on social media,’ according to a release from RAKTDA.

You can take a look at one of the videos below:

“We try to stay on the cusp of the traveler journey and tap into the visceral nature of tourism. By harnessing the power of short form video with Beautiful Destinations, we effectively trigger inspiration and emotion far quicker and more impactfully than other, more traditional, marketing tools. We welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors in first six months in 2023 – a 14.8% increase from the same time last year, so now is the perfect time to accelerate our destination marketing offering with the global trailblazers in travel content creation,” said Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.

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.


Hyatt to Launch Vacation Rental Platform, Homes & Hideaways

6 days ago

Hyatt said on Thursday it would shift its strategy in marketing vacation rentals. It plans to launch before year-end a short-term vacation rental platform called Homes & Hideaways by World of Hyatt.

Hyatt also said it intended to sell its vacation rental management business — Destination Residences Management — to a company called Lowe, which, through an affiliate, will run it under Lowe and Coral Tree.

The Homes & Hideaways project will spotlight U.S. vacation rentals managed by Lowe, such as a home by the sea in Hawaii or a ski chalet in Colorado.

To book these vacation rentals, customers have to be one of the 40 million members of the hotelier’s loyalty program.

Residences Exterior Grand Hyatt Vail Residences
The exterior of Grand Hyatt Vail Residences, one of the vacation rental properties that will be available through the new Hyatt offering. Source: Hyatt.

The move follows other plays in vacation rentals by major hotel groups, such as Marriott’s Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy and Accor’s OneFineStay.

Hyatt’s CEO elaborated on the company’s broader strategy on Wednesday at the Skift Global Forum (story below).


Allegiant Air CEO Resigns, Former Chief Gallagher Returns

7 days ago

Former Allegiant Air CEO Maurice Gallagher is returning to the top job at the budget airline following the sudden departure of CEO John Redmond.

Gallagher, who was Las Vegas-based Allegiant’s CEO from 2003 through 2022, takes the reins immediately. He is currently the airline’s chairman. Redmond, Allegiant said, resigned effective immediately.

Allegiant did not say why Redmond left.

“I am grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this incredible organization,” Redmond said in a statement.

Maurice Gallagher, Allegiant’s chairman, has returned as its CEO. (Allegiant Air)

Allegiant, which includes both its namesake airline plus the new Sunseeker Resort in Florida, and a travel business, has emerged from the pandemic stronger than many of its budget peers in the U.S. In the second quarter, it generated a $122 million operating profit excluding special items and an 18.6% operating margin. Spirit Airlines, the largest U.S. discounter, turned a 3.3% operating margin and Frontier Airlines an 8.2% margin.

And the outlook for Allegiant looks good. In the second half of the year — the airline does not provide third quarter guidance — it forecasts a solid profit on flat to 3% capacity growth.

Frontier and Spirit, which are growing capacity by double digits, forecast losses in the third quarter.

“We have built a management team headed by Greg Anderson, president, and many other talented and dedicated executives that is among the best in the industry,” Gallagher said in a statement. “This team is well-positioned to lead the company as we continue to set the standard for the U.S. leisure travel sector.”

Delta CEO On Loyalty Changes: ‘We Moved Too Fast…We Will Be Making Modifications’ 

1 week ago

Speaking this week in Atlanta, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the airline would soon revise the changes to the Delta Skymiles loyalty program announced earlier this month. 

Those changes shifted the key loyalty metric to money spent with Delta – and sparked backlash from Skymiles members. 

Bastian acknowledged the response: “We are still assessing what we do. But there will be modifications that we will make. And you’ll hear about it sometime over the next few weeks.”

Bastian said the initial change was driven by a big increase in higher-tier loyalty members during Covid that the airline couldn’t serve.  

“We have so much demand for our premium product and services that are far in excess of our ability to serve it effectively in terms of our assets,” Bastian said. That included offerings like Delta One Sky Clubs, upgrade certificates and other perks. 

“We need to make certain that we can serve our higher tiers with the level of premium experience that you deserve and you expect. No question we probably went too far. In doing that our team kind of wanted to rip the Band-Aid off…I think we moved too fast. We’re looking at it now.”


Marriott Unveils Four Points Express by Sheraton Brand in Europe and Turkey

1 week ago

Marriott International on Wednesday debuted Four Points Express by Sheraton, a midscale hotel brand aimed at Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The brand aims to target the “midscale” segment of affordable lodging. Marriott estimates that about a half-million independent or locally-branded hotels are in this segment — many of which may be ripe for conversion to a global brand.

The first hotel will be a 52-room property opening later this year in Lara, a district of Antalya in Turkey. Next year, another property in Turkey is likely to open. So is a 201-guestroom property in London near the Euston rail station.

Other hotel groups are also focusing on midscale brands, such as IHG’s Garner,
Hilton’s Spark brand and an upcoming (as-yet-unnamed) extended-stay brand, and Hyatt’s Hyatt Studios extended-stay brand.


IDEAS: Orlando International Airport Opens to the General Public with Launch of New Visitor Pass

1 week ago

Orlando International Airport has launched a pilot program that will see non-traveling members of the public given access to its Terminal C, known as the Experience MCO Visitor Pass.

Credit: Orlando International Airport

The Experience MCO Visitor Pass Program has been designed to grant members of the public access to the terminal’s post-security areas in order to explore its ‘unique architecture, interactive media and services’. 

In order to apply for the Visitor Pass, potential guests will need to complete an online application up to seven days before their planned visit, which will then be reviewed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Once approved, guests will receive their Experience MCO Visitor Pass via email, which they will then use to get into general screening before being granted access to the terminal. 

Passes are limited and granted on a first-come, first-served basis and entry will be available from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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.


IDEAS: P&O Cruises and Cunard Roll Out SpaceX’s Starlink to Improve On-Board Wi-Fi Connectivity

1 week ago

P&O Cruises and Cunard have announced the rollout of SpaceX’s Starlink across its fleet in order to improve on-board Wi-Fi connectivity and bandwidth.

The new technology from Starlink has been introduced to provide guests with a greater bandwidth capacity across P&O Cruises and Cunard ships, which facilitate the sharing of photos and videos, the ability to use streaming services and enjoying other on board content at higher speeds.

Credit: Carnival Corporation Plc

According to a release from Carnival Corporation, the service will be available in both public spaces and cabins on the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth – which are operated by Cunard – by the end of 2023. Queen Anne, which is Cunard’s newest ship, will launch with the service in May 2024. 

Britannia and Azura, which are operated by P&O Cruises, have already introduced Starlink to the public spaces on board. The service will be available in both public spaces and cabins on Arvia, Iona, Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora by the end of 2023.

“Sharing unforgettable moments with friends and family back at home is an important part of any holiday. Whether it’s uploading a picture of a sunset as you sail away from a newly discovered destination or catching up with the news, live events or content from home, Starlink will make it even easier for our guests and colleagues to stay connected,” said Paul Ludlow, president at Carnival UK and P&O Cruises.

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.


IDEAS: ibis Styles Launches New Creative Event to Celebrate Local Arts and Culture

1 week ago

ibis Styles has launched #OpenpARTy, a live event series designed to celebrate the talented artists, cultural scenes and creativity within its hotel communities.

Credit: ibis Styles Hotels

The first #OpenpARTy, will take place at ibis Styles Copenhagen Orestad on 28 September 2023, and will see local artists and performers come together to celebrate Copenhagen’s renowned arts community, with the city having recently been designated as World Capital of Architecture for 2023 by the Director-General of UNESCO. 

The event will also be livestreamed on the ibis Styles Metaverse spatial gallery

The #OpenpARTy concept forms part of the brand’s wider #OpenToCreativity program, which sees an ongoing collaboration with arts and design communities to showcase the creative work of neighborhood artists. 

“The #OpenpARTy concept is one of the many distinctive ibis Styles experiences that guests will not find elsewhere. By engaging the public to co-create with local artists at our hotels, we are showing our support for artistic experimentation, authenticity, and self-expression, while inviting guests to truly become part of the art,” said Marie-Agnès Froment, ibis Styles brand director, Accor. 

“Across our ibis Styles network, our #OpenToCreativity program is pushing culture forwards, celebrating creativity, and unlocking access to a like minded global community. For guests, our hotels open the door to local creative culture; for our talented neighbors, we provide space to meet, collaborate and showcase their artistic talents.” 

According to a release from the brand, more #OpenpARTy events will follow at ibis Styles destinations across Europe.

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.


Australia Reopens to Chinese Group Tourism

1 week ago

Australia has recommenced visa processing for Chinese group travel, Australia’s Ministry of Trade and Tourism announced on Monday.

The visa processing restart follows China’s lifting of pandemic-era restrictions last month on outbound group tours to Australia, the U.S., Japan and multiple other countries.

Australia reopened its borders to international travel in March this year. Since its reopening, Chinese tourism has slowly returned. In July, it reached 79,040, which was 50% of its pre-pandemic level.

Before the pandemic, China was Australia’s largest inbound tourism market in terms of spend. In 2019, Chinese group tours spent $581 million, which was about one-third of all Chinese travel spend in Australia.

“The resumption of Chinese group tour travel will provide another welcome boost for Australia’s hard-working tourism operators,” said Australia Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell.


Air France-KLM Orders $16 Billion Worth of Long-Range Airbus Planes

1 week ago

Air France-KLM will add up to 90 new long-range Airbus A350 aircraft to its fleet in the coming years, under an order unveiled Monday.

The aircraft, which include 50 firm A350-900s and -1000s plus 40 purchase rights, are worth roughly $16.2 billion, based on Cirium Ascend’s full-life base values. Deliveries will begin in 2026 and run through at least 2030.

The deal still requires approval of the Air France-KLM board.

“It is the perfect fit for the network needs of the group and boasts outstanding performances: it is a quieter, more fuel efficient and more cost-effective aircraft compared to previous generations,” Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith said in a statement.

Air France A350 takeoff
Air France-KLM has ordered up to 90 more Airbus A350s. (Airbus)

Air France-KLM was reportedly considering both the Airbus A350 as well as the Boeing 777X and 787 for the order. The planes will replace older Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s in the group’s fleet.

The Air Current reported earlier in September that, due to range considerations owing to the closure of Russian airspace to European airlines for flights to Asia, Air France-KLM was leaning towards the A350 for the order.

The deal is the latest win for Airbus from Air France-KLM. In December 2021, the group ordered at least 100 A320neo family aircraft for its KLM and Transavia brands. The planes will replace older Boeing 737s at both airlines. And earlier that year Air France-KLM was a launch customer for the new A350 freighter.

Air France already operates 22 A350-900s and has firm orders for 19 more aircraft. With the latest deal, Air France-KLM will eventually operate at least 99 A350s, which will make it one of the largest operators of the plane globally.