Hello from Skift. It’s Monday, March 7 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.
Today’s edition of Skift’s Daily Podcast describes how travel brands are responding to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, how hotel companies posted better-than-expected hiring numbers in February and due diligence concerns of corporate travel planners.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing businesses in many sectors, including travel, to suspend or cancel business operations in the world’s largest country. Although most major travel agencies have announced in recent days that they are withdrawing from Russia, several others are still operating in the country, writes editor Dennis Schaal.
While Airbnb and Expedia Group are among the most prominent tour operators to announce their refusal to do business in Russia, many others – including major tour operators and Tripadvisor – are also pulling out of the country. Tripadvisor is blocking attempts to book vacation rentals in Russia and will stop doing business with Russian-backed tourist boards.
However, several leading tour operators have not yet pulled out of Russia. Several Chinese and Middle Eastern carriers – including Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways – are currently operating flights to and from the country. In addition, Booking Holidays as well as many hotel brands still offer accommodation in Russia.
We now turn to better than expected news for the US hospitality industry ahead of the busy summer season. The sector recorded strong job growth in February despite fears that a rise in Covid cases could hamper hiring, writes hospitality journalist Cameron Sperance.
Hotels added 23,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in the overall U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels, accounted for 179,000 new jobs, more than a quarter of all new hires recorded in the United States last month.
Sperance attributes the good news in February’s jobs report to hotel executives making increased efforts to make jobs in the industry more attractive, including raising wages and improving the marketing of its mobility opportunities. However, hotels still have a long way to go to reach pre-Covid figures, as employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is still 9% below the bar recorded at the start of the pandemic.
Finally, global travel managers spend a lot of time addressing employee concerns such as health and safety and sustainable travel options. But what else do they think? Corporate travel editor Matthew Parsons reports that global travel managers increasingly need to answer three questions from employees.
Many employees worry about what their travel experiences will be like if they no longer receive certain perks they have become accustomed to. Parsons writes that many flyers will find they have been inadvertently demoted, which one executive said would worry many employees. Additionally, corporate travel managers should respond if there are alternatives to using phone calls to accept bookings. One executive said doing business over the phone is becoming increasingly difficult in the modern world of remote work, where many workers are increasingly engaged in Zoom meetings.
The third question travel managers need to answer is whether they can be more flexible in arranging hotels for employees. Sean Parham, global director of travel for Snapchat, said that while his company has always had its favorite partners, it is seeing more and more requests to add more hotels to its program because Snapchat has employees in many places. different.