Page 6

Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Tourism

National Parks to Drop Single-Use Plastics Within 10 Years

3 weeks ago

The U.S. Department of Interior will phase-out the use of single-use plastics from areas it manages, including all national parks, within 10 years.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland mandated the move, which aims to reduce waste, by 2032 in an order issued on June 8. Products that will be phased out include “plastic and polystyrene food and beverage containers, bottles, straws, cups, cutlery and disposable plastic bags.”

(Michael Quinn/Grand Canyon National Park)

“As the steward of the nation’s public lands, including national parks and national wildlife refuges, and as the agency responsible for the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, we are uniquely positioned to do better for our Earth,” Secretary Haaland said.

The travel industry has identified single-use plastics as a key way to reduce its environmental impact. A 2021 report by the World Travel and Tourism Council and the United Nations Environment Program recommended that travel companies reduce use of these products and seek replacements “wherever possible.”

Rail

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn to Run More Summer Trains Than in 2019

3 weeks ago

Germany’s passenger rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) will run more long-distance trains this summer than it did before the pandemic in response to strong demand.

DB will offer 20 percent more seats than it did in the summer of 2019, it said Saturday. The increase is both from operating more trains, and from the introduction of more “extra-large” ICE high-speed trains that seat roughly 1,000 passengers each.

(Georg Wagner/DB AG)

The extra long-distance trains come as Germany anticipates record transport ridership this summer under the three-month “9 euro ticket,” or pass, that covers all regional and suburban trains. In May, the head of DB’s long-distance rail division Michael Peterson said ridership that month was roughly 5 percent higher than in 2019.

“This summer, the desire to travel is greater than ever,” Peterson said in a statement Saturday.

Airlines

JetBlue-Spirit Merger Chances Improving: Analyst

3 weeks ago

A new report from J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker sees the likelihood of a merger between JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines improving. The comments come days after JetBlue improved its offer for Spirit by more than $150 million, and the latter delayed a key shareholder vote on a merger — either with Frontier Airlines or JetBlue — by three weeks to June 30.

“We believe some merger involving Spirit is a high probability outcome,” Baker wrote Thursday. “We also believe a merger outcome between Spirit and JetBlue is a growing probability and may overtake the likelihood of a Frontier deal.”

(jtocchialini/Flickr)

JetBlue is offering Spirit shareholders $31.50 per share that totals roughly $3.4 billion. The offer includes a $1.50 per share prepayment of a $350 million break up fee in the event U.S. regulators do not approve the deal. Frontier is offering Spirit investors the equivalent to $2.9 billion in cash and stock.

On June 6, following receipt of JetBlue’s improved offer, Frontier declined to raise its bid for Spirit, Securities & Exchange Commission filings show.

Business Travel

International Business Travel Unlikely to Recover Until 2026 — Report

3 weeks ago

Despite the euphoria around the return of international business travel, a data analytics firm has predicted a gloomier outlook.

GlobalData has said it is unlikely to recover until at least 2026.

It’s singled out the complexity of business travel, which it said still faces several added layers of complexity that affect consumer behaviour, purchase decisions, and general operations.

“Despite some encouraging signs of revival for the overall travel industry in 2022, the business travel sector is witnessing a slower-than-expected recovery, particularly regarding international travel,” it reported.

Those challenges will persist over the next four years, it said, adding that another prominent disruption was the rising cost of living fuelled by the ongoing energy crisis, due to “low energy reserves due to the pandemic and the current geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine.”

These increased energy costs are putting further pressure on businesses that are seeing operational overheads soar, with the result that business travel is no longer a priority for companies, it claimed.

Its Tourism Demands and Flows Database also found that international business travel fell by 78.4 percent in 2020, before falling a further 7.9 percent in 2021.

Hotels

Inspirato Adds a Third Travel Subscription Product

3 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

Hotel Bedbank DidaTravel Sees Traveler Confidence in More Advance Bookings

3 weeks ago

A Shenzhen, China-based hotel bedbank that does a big chunk of its business outside the country is seeing travel agency and tour operator clients increasingly opt for both non-refundable rates and longer booking windows compared with 2021.

DidaTravel, which does about half its business outside Asia-Pacific, reported that 32 percent of its bookings were nonrefundable in the January to May, 2022 period compared with 26 percent for the same period in 2021.

The W Hotel is a landmark of the Barceloneta beach in Barcelona, Spain. http://www.flickr.com/photos/oh-barcelona/6978870631/

Meanwhile, 14 percent of bookings from January to April, 2022 were made 8-30 days in advance compared with 10 percent a year earlier. Bookings made more than 30 days in advance also edged up from just 2 percent January to April 2021 to 7 percent during the same period this year.

Bookings 8 to 30 days in advance reached 20 percent in May 2022, the bedbank stated.

All of these marks were well below pre-pandemic levels. While the increases aren’t huge they may be indicative of a trend, and show that travelers are showing more confidence these days that the pandemic or other global events won’t deter their travels.

“All of this is a strong reflection of the desire to travel from consumers and their confidence that they can fulfill a journey, based on conversations with our B2B buying clients such as travel agents and tour operators,” said Rikin Wu, DidaTravel’s founder and CEO. “But to a smaller extent credit must go to hoteliers for putting together compelling deals and pricing to entice the traveller back again — they are keen to see non-refundable rates return to pre-COVID levels and are we are seeing them pushing hard for this in our conversations with them.”

Nium, a payments processor, said cancellation rates it is seeing from travelers booking through online travel agencies, airlines, and hotels, are falling — just 1.74 percent so far in 2022 compared to some months in 2021 when cancellation rates were more than 40 percent.

Hotels

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Announces New CEO

3 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.

Airlines

Lufthansa and Eurowings Cancel More Than 1,000 Flights in July

3 weeks ago

Lufthansa and Eurowings have cancelled more than 1,000 flights in July as airport staffing issues take a toll on air travel in Europe this summer.

Lufthansa has cut 900 domestic Germany and European flights in July, and its discount affiliate Eurowings “several hundred flights” in order to stabilize their operations, Eurowings said Wednesday. Lufthansa’s cuts are concentrated on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and represent 5 percent of weekend system capacity.

“The upcoming summer will undoubtedly be a major operational challenge for the whole industry,” Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr warned in May. “We are maximally flexible can adapt to changes immediately, and we have improved our operational processes even further wherever feasible. But we’re also fully aware that many partners, such as airports, air traffic control, caterers, are currently struggling with significant staff shortages.”

(Kevin Hackert/Flickr)

Amsterdam and London have born the brunt of Europe’s airport and air traffic control staffing issues in recent weeks. KLM was forced to fly empty planes to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on June 4 after issues at the airport led to overcrowded facilities and cancelled flights. British Airways has cut its schedule at London Heathrow by 10 percent through October in response to what it says is understaffing by the airport operator. And EasyJet cancelled hundreds of flights over the weekend of June 4 due to its own operational woes.

Lufthansa and Eurowings will notify passengers immediately and rebook them if possible, the airlines said. They also recommended that German travelers use the country’s rail system to travel to either the Frankfurt or Munich airports if their domestic flight is cancelled.

Airlines

JetBlue Expands Booking Site Paisly in Time For Summer

3 weeks ago

JetBlue Airways has expanded its offerings on its travel product add-on site, Paisly, with new activities and more hotels just in time for what is expected to be a busy summer travel season.

Paisly, which is part of the airline’s JetBlue Travel Products business, has added more activities through travel experiences site Peek — these include things like parasailing, scuba diving, and paddle boarding in Miami, for example — and increased available hotel inventory to more than 4,000 properties, according to a statement Wednesday. In addition, the year-old site boasts additional customer service functionality and a new “look and feel.”

A collection of experiences offered by Peek. (Peek)

And, with a nod to the importance of loyalty, offers travelers points in JetBlue’s TrueBlue frequent flyer program and credits towards Mosaic status for purchases through Paisly.

“We realized that online travel sites for booking hotels, cars and activities still lacked exceptional service,” JetBlue Travel Products President Andres Barry said. “As we continue to grow as a travel company, our goal is to develop technology that allows us to take ownership over the customer’s entire experience.”

Paisly is part of JetBlue’s broader push to become more of a travel technology company than just an airline. JetBlue Travel Products generated $45 million in annual earnings before interest and taxes last year, and is on track to more than double that to $100 million in 2022.

Hotels

Travelodge Names New CEO Jo Boydell

3 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