Rezidor Hotel Group Defends Its Performance as Profits Fall

Hanna Sörensson  / Flickr

The Radisson Blu in Riga, Latvia. The brand is controlled by Rezidor Hotel Group, which had a rough 2017. Hanna Sörensson / Flickr

Skift Take: Rezidor Hotel Group’s fourth quarter earnings call was a snoozer until one Norwegian newspaper reporter decided to call b.s. on the company. That made for an interesting exchange.

— Brian Sumers

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Ryan Wolkov

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Uber Tests Express Pool Service to Compete With Public Transportation

Uber

Uber’s new Express Pool program is an attempt to help commuters get to work during periods when buses and trains are overcrowded. Uber

Skift Take: Uber has been working on ways to bridge the gaps in public transportation for years. Express Pool, which asks travelers to walk to Uber vehicles instead of getting picked up where they are, is the company’s most visible attempt yet to crack the huge market of commuters in the U.S.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Qatar Air CEO Calls on Trump to Intervene Against ‘Failed’ Blockade

Bloomberg

Qatar Airways claims the Saudi-led blockade hasn’t had an impact, but that’s a dubious premise. Bloomberg

Skift Take: If Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is holding out hope that Trump will side with Qatar over new best-friend Saudi Arabia, he may have a long wait despite the U.S. government’s strategic interests in Qatar.

— Dennis Schaal

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Social Tables CEO on Breaking Down Barriers for Meeting Planners

Social Tables

The Social Tables offices outside Washington, D.C. Social Tables

Skift Take: A lot of work needs to be done to improve the ability of hotels to sell to planners on smarter and more efficient ways. A variety of event technology companies are working on it, but the process of building trust among stakeholders will likely take some time.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Priceline Group Changes Name to Reflect Booking.com’s Power

Skift

Priceline CEO Glenn Fogel (L) appeared at the Skift Global Forum in New York City September 26, 2017. The company is changing its name to Booking Holdings. Skift

Skift Take: The name change to Booking Holdings reflects the reality that Booking.com dominates the parent company’s business. Although the parent company still calls Connecticut home, the balance of power shifted long ago to Amsterdam.

— Dennis Schaal

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AccorHotels to Sell Stake in Property Business to Buy New Brands

AccorHotels

The Pullman St. Pancras hotel in London. Parent company AccorHotels is selling part of its property portfolio. AccorHotels

Skift Take: It’s been a slow process but it seems like AccorHotels is about to finally get investors in its property portfolio so it can bankroll the acquisition of new brands.

— Patrick Whyte

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Taking Personalization Up a Level

Black Tomato

Blink by Black Tomato offers trips including staying in a yurt in the Andes. For the super rich, personalization and exclusivity are now key. Black Tomato

Skift Take: Wealthy tourists are happy to flash a helluva lot of cash to ensure what they are doing has rarely – if ever – been done before.

— Patrick Whyte

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Six Flags Will Consider Opening More Parks Year-Round

Jeremy Thompson  / Flickr

The X2 roller coaster at California’s Six Flags Magic Mountain, which just started operating 365 days a year, is pictured. Parent company Six Flags Entertainment may open more of its warm-weather parks for the full year. Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

Skift Take: Six Flags had a good year, but a look at the bottom line shows a benefit from tax reform and lower compensation expense. The company is focusing on improving its underlying business, and keeping profitable parks open year-round is likely to help.

— Hannah Sampson

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