10 Stories to Start Your Wednesday
This summer we sent reporter Andrew Sheivachman to Iceland to look at the country's overtourism problem. When it came time for the next assignment we just looked outside our office windows. Surrounded in midtown Manhattan as we are by over a dozen hotels in a three-block radius, we are smack dab in the center of both 21st-century urban tourism and gentrification.
So we decided to take a closer look. Today, Andrew's 11,000-word story looks at hotel construction, tourism technology, modern marketing, hospitality employment, Airbnb, affordable housing, mom-and-pop retail, and other factors that influence quality of life for city residents as well as the city's appeal to outsiders both domestic and foreign. We learned a good deal about our city and we hope you will too. — Jason Clampet, Editor-in-Chief
Skift Take: We take another close look at the state of modern tourism with a deep dive into the complicated relationship between tourism and the U.S.A.'s most popular urban destination.
Skift Take: A lot of public companies are actively wondering how they will counter an onslaught if they become a target of the new administration in Washington. It's therefore a fairly gutsy act when companies ranging from Expedia to Celebrity Cruises stick their proverbial necks outs.
Skift Take: Both CEOs made the case for their respective causes, which would ultimately benefit not only their respective businesses and customers, but the travel industry a whole.
Skift Take: You don't have to be a hotelier or a business executive to appreciate the insights and tales shared by the former Starwood CEO in his new book. This is especially the case at a time when everything around us seems to be in a state of transition or disruption, no matter the industry.
Skift Take: Venezuelan travel agencies have refocused their strategies to face the economic crisis. The shift has not been enough to boost the business, which shows no signs of recovery.
Skift Take: Maybe five years ago, it would have been bad news if an airline decided not to add in-seat screens. But times change, and many passengers prefer to watch content on their own screens. This is not a big deal.
Skift Take: Airbnb’s entry into the tours and activities market certainly brings the sector to the fore. If Airbnb sticks with a strategy to curate its tours and activities, going with unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences, then that is still important for the sector given Airbnb’s scale, but self-limiting. Competition is certainly a healthy thing and all the players will have to up their games.
Skift Take: AirAsia X has a lot of options, but look for it to expand slowly into the United States. Because it's a much shorter flight, Hawaii might be a good first step.
Skift Take: Etihad's strategy of investing in smaller airlines, particularly Air Berlin and Alitalia, hasn't paid off. Rumours have been circulating since the end of last year that the Chief Executive would pay the price for these failures and it seems like the Abu Dhabi government has finally lost patience.
Skift Take: It seems unfair that Emirates, based in Dubai, would have rights to fly from Athens to Newark. But that right is codified in the Open Skies agreement between the United States and the United Arab Emirates. The Trump administration could revisit that agreement, but other U.S. businesses, especially logistics companies like FedEx, could suffer.
Skift Take: Sophistication and adoption of back-end technology on the supply side is getting to a point where the big players in online travel are taking the tours and activities segment seriously. It's an expanding growth opportunity for new and direct revenue streams across the entire traveler journey, beyond core transport and accommodations products.
Skift Take: With basic economy soon available on American, Delta, and United, it's worth comparing the pros and cons of each fare. American's may be good for elite travelers while Delta's is best for those with baggage.
Skift Take: Although the term arrival is somewhat ambiguous and different destinations have their own definitions for what counts as an arrival, it's clear some European destinations had a tough year convincing international travelers to visit and Western Europe bore the brunt of that.