4 Stories to Start Your Wednesday
In a story yesterday we said that Alaska Air's loyalty program was one of the bright spots for frequent flyers in 2017, and today we bring you the back story. We also look at what's guiding development of hotels, as well as why one cruise line wants to keep it small. — Jason Clampet, Editor-in-Chief
Skift Take: It's easy to be skeptical when an airline says it is making passenger-friendly decisions, but this appears to be the real deal. Many travelers will be much closer to a free ticket now that Alaska is retaining its miles-earning policies for the foreseeable future.
Skift Take: At a time when hotel companies are investing so much into brand differentiation, their time may be better spent thinking as much or even more about the individual guests than brand swim lanes, suggests this new report from Deloitte.
Skift Take: Being small isn't quite enough to stand out in the cruise crowd. But elements of quirkiness, fun, and surprise — along with the advantage of greater access to some destinations — could do the trick.
Skift Take: Airbnb has proven it can innovate better than nearly any other travel brand. But we keep coming back to this issue over and over.
3 Big Reads
We spent much of the year covering the nearly $13 billion dollar deal Marriott International made to buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Here are just three of the many essential stories our hospitality expert Deanna Ting brought our readers.
Skift Take: Read on for our takes on all 30 of Marriott’s brands.
Skift Take: That didn’t take too long now, did it? In all seriousness, however, this mega-merger was certainly a long one in the making, filled with plenty of twists and turns. Now, we hope, comes the even more interesting part in the next chapter of the story.
Skift Take: We’re going to miss the drama Anbang brought to what we all assumed would be your standard merger/acquisition between Starwood and Marriott. Instead, what we got was a story the likes of which the travel industry has rarely seen before.