Red Lion CEO on the Myth of Loyalty Programs Driving Lots of Business

Red Lion Hotels Corporation

Red Lion Hotels Corporation CEO Greg Mount says hotel loyalty programs don’t drive as much demand for the majority of brands as the industry assumes they do. Red Lion Hotels Corporation

Skift Take: RLHC CEO Greg Mount’s comments about loyalty programs might surprise his hotel peers. But when you really think about it, he might be on to something. And instead of focusing so much on building up their loyalty numbers, perhaps there are other ways hotel companies should be focusing on reaching consumers.

— Deanna Ting

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Ryan Wolkov

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IMEX Partnership With C2 Shows Impact of Experiential Networking

Sebastien Roy  / C2 International

A promotional photo from C2 Montreal. The organization’s partnership with IMEX Group shows that experiential concepts are becoming more important to meeting planners. Sebastien Roy / C2 International

Skift Take: Collaboration between IMEX Group and C2 International shows the value, and power, of creativity in the meetings and events space. The more lessons planners from around the world can learn from these educational sessions, the better.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Ryan Wolkov

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IfOnly Raises $20 Million for Activities Booking: Travel Startup Funding This Week

Chris Dewhirst  / IfOnly

For only $4.8 million per person, travelers can join an expedition to soar to 30,000 feet above the Earth next to Mount Everest in a hot air balloon. It’s one of the many experiences offered by IfOnly, a startup that’s gotten a fresh round of funding this month. Chris Dewhirst / IfOnly

Skift Take: MasterCard, Hyatt, and others must have done their homework before they invested in IfOnly. Still, the startup certainly expects outsiders to take too much on faith about its progress.

— Sean O’Neill

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Protecting Data Becomes Focus a Year After the Laptop Ban

Bloomberg

An airport security employee at a U.S. airport. Companies are still grappling with the challenge of developing data security protocols for business travelers. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Data security is a complicated issue for companies, and it’s only getting more complicated as threats mount around the world. Hopefully, last year’s laptop ban acts as a wake-up call for businesses that haven’t paid attention to the security risks of business travel.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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JetBlue Airways Bets on a New Fuel Efficient Engine Despite Reliability Issues

Bloomberg

JetBlue Airways has ordered more Pratt & Whitney geared-turbofan engines for its A320neos. Pictured is a geared turbofan on the wing of an Airbus A320neo. Bloomberg

Skift Take: The Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan is one of the most advanced aircraft engines ever built. But it has had teething issues and some carriers, including Hawaii Airlines, have had to park jets temporarily. JetBlue clearly is calculating it will have better luck.

— Brian Sumers

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Lyft Doubles Down on Subscriptions to Keep Users Away From Uber

Bloomberg

A Lyft vehicle in action. Lyft is looking towards a subscriber model as its battle against a flagging Uber continues. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Lyft is experimenting as Uber continues to be beset by setbacks. Using a subscription to lock a user to your service is a shrewd move, but it seems unlikely that price-sensitive U.S. consumers will be willing to plunk down hundreds of dollars in advance each month to either player.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Air Canada Launches New Economy Fares to Compete With Low-Cost Carriers

Air Canada

Air Canada introduced a new basic economy fare earlier this year that offered reduced perks in exchange for a slightly lower ticket cost. Air Canada

Skift Take: A new series of fares just launched by Air Canada should make it easier for discerning travelers to pick the fare that suits them best – as long as they’re willing to pay for it.

— Grant Martin

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Data Privacy Is a Bigger Issue Than Ever for Business Travelers

Jean-Etienne Poirrier  / Flickr

A traveler uses a laptop at the airport in Brussels. Data privacy has become a bigger concern in recent years as border searches of electronics increased in the U.S and authorities forced some travelers to stow laptops in cargo during flights. Jean-Etienne Poirrier / Flickr

Skift Take: With laws in flux and hackers prowling for access, companies are trying to help corporate travelers protect valuable business data, but the efforts are piecemeal and inconsistent. Attempts to require loaner devices or limit access to information risk making international travel less productive.

— Amy Merrick

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AccorHotels Takes Stake in African Hotel Chain Mantis Group

The Mantis Collection

Founder’s Lodge in the Eastern Cape, part of the Mantis Collection. AccorHotels is taking a 50 percent stake in the parent company. The Mantis Collection

Skift Take: AccorHotels said it would look at doing more deals in 2018 and it’s been true to its word. Like Accor’s deal to buy the similar-sounding Mantra in Australia, the Mantis investment gives Accor greater exposure to a market outside its European heartland.

— Patrick Whyte

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