Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the return of business travel, tipping in hotels, and OYO’s probably IPO in 2023.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, September 20. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Business travel has been projected to eventually make a full recovery, with more companies sending their employees back on the road. But Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons reports it’s unclear when it will return to pre-pandemic levels amid enormous uncertainty in the sector.
Although the Global Business Travel Association envisions annual corporate travel spending reaching the pre-Covid mark of $1.4 trillion by mid-2026, Parsons writes predicting the return of business travel demand has been difficult for corporate CEOs. However, companies such as corporate travel agency CWT have expressed optimism about the sector making steady progress in its recovery.
But Parsons notes that predicting which types of companies will commit to more business travel is challenging. He cited Google as one of the latest companies to announce it’s only approving business trips it considers critical for its operations. In addition, companies are having to justify sending more staff on the road while airfares and hotel prices are increasing.
Next, housekeeping staff at hotels have been hit hard by recent reductions in daily housekeeping services that limit their opportunities to obtain gratuities. Contributor Carley Thornell reports that tipping is becoming a critical issue for hotels, which are increasingly embracing cashless tipping technology.
Thornell writes guests are leaving gratuities less frequently, which one labor union leader said is hurting workers heavily dependent on tips amid stagnant wages in the hotel industry. Major hotels in the U.S. are still grappling with a labor shortage. Brands such as Hilton are cutting daily housekeeping or eliminating daily housekeeping while room rates have surged, a development that could steer guests toward tipping less.
But companies such as Wyndham Hotels & Resorts are offering guests more options for tipping hotel staff. Wyndham unveiled a cashless platform last week for its U.S. and Canadian franchisees that enables guests to tip specific hotel staff via QR code. Thornell also cited Boston’s Revere Hotel as another property that’s implementing a program that makes collecting gratuities easier.
Finally, India-based budget hotel operator Oyo is looking to finally go public by early next year, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
Oyo filed its initial public offering paperwork with Indian regulators in 2021 with the aim of raising $1.1 billion. The company’s public debut was delayed after it requested permission to update its IPO prospectus with newer financial results. Bhutia writes that Oyo is confident about a successful IPO due to India’s domestic travel rebound, citing the company’s strong foothold in the country as a key reason for its recent resurgence.