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Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Hyatt House’s repositioning, the China hit to business travel, and Europe’s airline challenges.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, January 5, and here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Dozens of countries worldwide are imposing new restrictions on Chinese travelers as Beijing recently eased its zero-Covid policies. Business travel executives view those travel curbs as a major setback for an industry dependent on Chinese travelers for its recovery, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
China’s decision to relax its zero-Covid strategy was considered to be a huge step forward in international business travel’s ongoing rebound. American Express Global Business Travel CEO Paul Abbott said last year China once generated 5 percent of its sales. So Parsons notes corporate travel executives are increasingly worried that the wave of new restrictions on Chinese travelers will hamper the sector’s recovery. The European Commission met on Wednesday to discuss possible entry requirements for its 27 members, with most countries in the bloc having already expressed support for pre-departure testing.
Clive Wratten, CEO of the UK-based Business Travel Association, called the introduction of testing for travelers coming from China to the UK a sucker punch for the entire travel industry. Wratten also said the travel curbs represent a huge step backwards for customer and corporate confidence.
Next, Hyatt has been looking at creative ways to market its hotels to compete against increasingly popular short-term rental platforms. So what steps is Hyatt taking? It’s rebranded its Hyatt House brand to convey to travelers a sense of feeling at home in its hotels, reports Contributor Samantha Shankman.
Hyatt recently launched a digital campaign for the Hyatt House that centers on experiences that make a house a home, including taking work calls in sweatpants. The campaign, which features the slogan “Home is Where,” represents a shift from Hyatt’s longtime focus on attracting business travelers.
Emily Wright, Hyatt’s global brand leader, said the company saw a strategic opportunity to rebrand Hyatt House to suit its expanding customer base. Surging leisure travel demand has driven Hyatt’s recovery, with Shankman writing the company has seen a growing number of guests on family getaways.
Finally, Europe’s aviation industry expects to make progress this year in its recovery to pre-Covid levels. But its airlines could still face enormous operational challenges in 2023, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Europe’s air traffic manager, Eurocontrol, said in a recently published report that 2023 is set to be the most challenging year in the last decade for the continent’s airlines. The report cited keeping delays in check as one of the biggest challenges that European airlines face. Russell notes punctuality rates across Europe last year were 6 to 7 percentage points worse than in 2019. In addition, only 40 percent of European flights arrived on time last summer.
Eurocontrol described 2022 as the year European aviation bounced back despite airspace issues caused by the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic. However, the air traffic manager doesn’t project European flight activity to return fully to pre-Covid levels until 2025.