High-Speed Rail Plans Materialize Between Baltimore and Washington

Reuters

Amtrak has struggled to expand high-speed rail in the Northeast U.S. The Amtrak Acela Express, North America’s first high-speed passenger train, sits at Penn Station in New York in this November 16, 2000 photo. Reuters

Skift Take: Building high-speed rail is a terribly slow process in the U.S., but this 15-minute stretch between Baltimore and D.C. is a good start. It would be welcome news for day-trippers and business travelers. But extending it to New York? Now we’re talking.

— Sarah Enelow

There are now three possible routes for a high-speed rail line that promises a 15-minute ride between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

WTOP-FM quotes Bradley Smith with the Maryland Department of Transportation in a Saturday report as saying every proposal would have a station in Washington, with stops in Baltimore and at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The system would eventually go to New York.

A federally-funded environmental study had reduced route options for the Superconducting Magnetic Levitation train or maglev.

Project director David Henley says one proposal would parallel tracks Amtrak currently uses. There are “a lot of operational issues” if sharing territory with Amtrak and Henley also says maglev does not necessarily want to operate in the same area.

Project planners hope to have a route approved by mid-2019.

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Information from: WTOP-FM, http://www.wtop.com

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Airbnb Co-Founder Named Chairman of Airbnb China and 6 Other Hospitality Trends This Week

Bloomberg

Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk was named chairman of Airbnb China. Bloomberg

Skift Take: This week Airbnb had our attention, and its attention was on China as it chose a new chairman for the country. The homesharing giant also returned to affiliate partnerships and debuted new vacation rental tools.

— Sarah Enelow

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines hospitality.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

>>This makes perfect, if long overdue, business sense for Airbnb. But can Airbnb really make sure these tools won’t be abused by commercial operators running illegal hotel businesses in cities like San Francisco or New York? Airbnb Debuts New Tools for a Bigger Cut of the $138 Billion Vacation Rental Industry

>>Hyatt just launched another partnership for its loyalty program, signaling an interest in expanding further into the business of experiences: Business of Loyalty: World of Hyatt Adds Another Tours and Activities Partner

>>Hyatt isn’t alone. But the bigger question is why does this keep happening at so many hotels? And why does it always take so long for customers to find out about these data breaches? Hyatt Suffers Second Data Breach in Two Years

>>The home-sharing giant is only partnering with websites that attract at least a million visitors a month. Airbnb is calculating that the revenue upside would be worth the brand sacrifice that comes with affiliate marketing: Airbnb Reverses Strategy in Return to Affiliate Partnerships With Big Players

>>With all the leadership changes taking place at Airbnb in the past few weeks, should we be expecting even more? Does this mean a CEO change is next? Airbnb Co-Founder Nathan Blecharczyk Named Chairman of Airbnb China

>>Comfort food needs to go beyond a warm dish of mac and cheese. Diners and travelers are demanding more from their fine dining and their fast food, and smart restaurants are responding: Transparency Alleviates Anxiety in Restaurants

>>Whatever IHG ultimately does as it proceeds with this loyalty program merger, the No. 1 thing they don’t want to do is to anger Kimpton Karma elites. We also wonder: Will new IHG CEO Keith Barr start letting IHG’s most elite loyalty members get access to his phone number too? IHG Is Finally Adding Kimpton to Its Loyalty Program

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Airbus Plans To Make Bombardier’s New Aircraft a ‘Made in America’ Jet

Bloomberg

Airbus will add a new assembly line in Alabama to manufacture Bombardier’s C Series jets. The two companies struck a joint venture last week. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Airbus estimates it’ll cost “a few hundred million dollars” to construct another Alabama assembly line to build C Series jets. But that’s relatively minor compared to how much revenue it can generate by selling the modern aircraft to U.S. airlines. Plus, it might steal share from its archival, Boeing.

— Brian Sumers

Securing a “made-in-US” label for Bombardier Inc.’s C Series jet by building another assembly line in Alabama would cost only “a few hundred million dollars,” Airbus SE’s No. 2 executive said Friday.

The new facility is crucial to Airbus’s strategy for increasing U.S. sales of the Canadian plane while avoiding stiff trade penalties imposed by the Trump administration. Bombardier projects that passenger jets carrying 100 to 150 passengers will generate 6,000 orders over the next 20 years.

“The minute the plane is assembled in Mobile, it will become American; We would have a made-in-USA jet,” Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier said Friday in an interview in Montreal. “The U.S. market represents about 30 percent of 6,000 planes, so the rewards are sufficiently important to justify the investment.”

Four days after announcing a deal giving Airbus control of a new joint venture that will produce the cutting-edge jet, Bregier traveled with CEO Tom Enders to Montreal to lay out their vision for the European-Canadian partnership. Bombardier invested more than $6 billion to develop the jet over the past decade, but the project was bogged down by cost overruns and delays.

The partnership is seen as a solution to Bombardier’s trade dispute with Boeing Co., which accused its Canadian rival of selling the C Series to Delta Air Lines Inc. at “absurdly low prices.” The U.S. Commerce Department has so far sided with Boeing, slapping preliminary tariffs of 300 percent on the Bombardier jets in recent weeks.

Tariff Fight

The made-in-USA label is key to exempting plane sales from import duties, Bregier said. Boeing has said duties will still be levied.

Bombardier is already in talks with several potential U.S. customers for the C Series, CEO Alain Bellemare said Friday in Montreal. In addition to the deal with Delta, JetBlue Airways Corp. is another possible customer, Bregier said earlier this week.

Expanding  Airbus’s current factory in Mobile, Alabama, to build the C Series would be “quite affordable” given the access it would provide to U.S. customers, Bregier said.

Rather than pay cash for its 50.01 percent share, Airbus agreed to contribute its commercial and manufacturing expertise in a bid to cut production costs of the C Series and secure thousands of new orders. Among its first priorities will be using its marketing muscle to renegotiate some of Bombardier’s contracts with major suppliers.

“Airbus brings credibility and volume and in exchange, suppliers are ready to make an effort on price,” Bregier said. “We have to get to this win-win logic with a certain number of big partners of Bombardier and the C Series, and I think we will get there.”

Model Prices

While Bregier declined to say how much Airbus plans to squeeze in expenses, he said a reduced selling price would help Airbus capture at least 2,000 orders in the next two decades. Bombardier’s CS100 — the smaller of two variants of the C Series with as few as 108 seats — has a list price of $79.5 million, while the CS300, with as many as 160 seats, goes for $89.5 million.

“If we make it competitive, if we help to reduce its cost to sell it more aggressively, with the credibility that Airbus brings, we will have a market share that is greatly superior to what the analysts expect now,” Bregier said. “Two thousand planes seems quite realistic, and why not half of the market? If we are jumping into this battle, it’s not to sell a few hundred planes and to stop there.”

Bombardier suppliers involved in the C Series program include United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney unit, which builds the engine that power the plane, Rockwell Collins Inc. and Parker-Hannifin Corp.

Although the deal with Bombardier gives Airbus the right to buy out Bombardier and the Quebec government seven-and-a-half years after the transaction closes, the European planemaker isn’t planning to do so, according to Bregier and Enders.

“We have no intention to buy out the others because we know that they are great partners,” Enders said earlier Friday at an event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. “If they want to stay on the journey going forward, they are very welcome to that. Bombardier brings a lot. It’s one of the premier aeronautics companies in the world, and to be close to them has a great value for Airbus.”

–With assistance from Benjamin Katz

 

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Frederic Tomesco from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Trump Travel Ban Prohibition Extended by Hawaii Judge

Associated Press

Muslim and civil rights groups and their supporters gather at a rally against President Trump’s third travel ban. Associated Press

Skift Take: The temporary restraining order is now a preliminary injunction against President Trump’s third travel ban. But these legal maneuverings are all preliminary decisions because higher courts will inevitably deal with the issue.

— Dennis Schaal

The federal judge in Hawaii who stopped President Donald Trump’s travel ban from taking effect this week has extended the order.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on Friday converted the temporary restraining order to a preliminary injunction.

The ban was was announced in September.

It applied to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen plus some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Rulings against the ban in Hawaii and later in Maryland only apply only to the six Muslim-majority countries.

They do not affect the restrictions against North Korea or Venezuela, because the plaintiffs did not ask for that.

Watson said the proposed ban failed to show nationality alone makes a person a greater security risk to the U.S.

The U.S. government is expected to appeal.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Internet Billionaires Are Playing a Game of Chess With Uber and Lyft as Pawns

Mark Kauzlarich  / Bloomberg

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp. is investing heavily in Uber, even though his company previously invested in Uber’s primary rivals before. Mark Kauzlarich / Bloomberg

Skift Take: The battle for the future or transportation — self-driving cars included — looks like it’ll be a dramatic one as these tech billionaires duke it out via their deep pockets.

— Deanna Ting

The future of the ride-hailing industry depends on the capricious largesse of two internet billionaires on opposite sides of the globe. Alphabet Inc., led by Larry Page, just backed Lyft Inc., while SoftBank Group Corp. chief Masayoshi Son is set to take a big stake in larger rival Uber Technologies Inc.

Alphabet unit CapitalG led a $1 billion investment in Lyft on Thursday that valued the No. 2 U.S. ride-hailing company at $11 billion. SoftBank is expected to put a fresh $1 billion into Uber, and spend billions more buying shares from existing investors.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, it’s a stunning role reversal.

Four years ago, Alphabet’s venture capital arm co-led a $258 million investment in Uber when the company was worth about 4 percent of its most-recent $70 billion valuation. David Drummond, Alphabet’s chief legal officer, sat on the board.

The investment — which back in 2013 was shockingly large — came when Uber was just beginning to evolve from a black limo business into the globe-spanning, law-bending transportation network it is today. Alphabet had made a prescient bet and seemed to have picked a winner in a market made for monopolies or at least duopolies. Uber hired a string of top Alphabet executives including Brian McClendon, Amit Singhal and Rachel Whetstone.

But the alliance withered and then turned ugly over a technology that could transform the ride-sharing business and transportation more broadly. Page gave Uber the cold shoulder when the startup’s co-founder Travis Kalanick tried to partner on self-driving cars. So Uber launched its own autonomous vehicle project.

Any amity that still existed evaporated in August 2016 when Uber announced that it was purchasing Otto, an autonomous trucking company run by former Alphabet self-driving car employees. That month, Drummond officially left Uber’s board — even though he’d stopped attending meetings many months prior. In February 2017, Alphabet sued Uber for stealing its trade secrets.

Now Lyft is more a part of Page’s autonomous ride-sharing vision. When Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs unit proposed building a new digital district in Toronto, it mentioned Lyft three times and Uber once in the plan it submitted. Alphabet’s Waymo and other autonomous vehicle tech companies will help deploy a fleet of “taxibots” and “vanbots” and “existing ride-sharing providers, such as Lyft, would be welcome,” Sidewalk Labs said.

Masayoshi Son’s switch is arguably even more dramatic. Before wooing Uber in recent months, SoftBank had invested billions of dollars in the following ride-sharing startups: Didi in China, Ola in India and Grab in Southeast Asia.

By 2015, SoftBank had formed an anti-Uber alliance that earned nicknames like DKGLO (which stands for Didi Kuaidi, Grab, Lyft, and Ola). There were partnerships and cross investments. Didi invested $100 million in Lyft that year. Lyft and Didi were going to partner up. It seemed inevitable that SoftBank would join team Lyft, and Son even hinted he was interested earlier this year.

Yet Son’s highest-profile ride-hailing bet, Didi, had already struck a truce with Uber. In August 2016, Uber took a 17.5 percent stake in Didi and walked away from the Chinese market. The enemy of SoftBank’s friend was no longer its enemy. Meanwhile, Uber and SoftBank both made a new rich mutual friend — Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. That vehicle is the biggest backer of SoftBank’s $93 billion Vision Fund and wrote the largest check so far to Uber.

Now, SoftBank is set to take two Uber board seats, assuming the deal crosses a few more hurdles. SoftBank’s Ron Fisher and Sprint’s Marcelo Claure have been discussed as two potential board members. CapitalG’s David Lawee joined Lyft’s board.

But you can be sure Larry and Masa are pulling the strings.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P. This article was written by Eric Newcomer from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Florida Keys Officials Hope Fantasy Fest Brings a Post-Irma Tourism Boost

Andy Newman  / Florida Keys News Bureau via Associated Press

In this photo from 2015, people and their dogs dresses as space creatures take part in the Fantasy Fest Masquerade March in Key West. Tourism officials from the Florida Keys are hoping this year’s 10-day event will bring tourists back after Hurricane Irma struck in September. Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau via Associated Press

Skift Take: Hurricane Irma hurt tourism in the Florida Keys, but Key West reopened to visitors fairly quickly. With Fantasy Fest, an iconic annual event, the city gets to show tourists that it is back on its feet.

— Hannah Sampson

Florida Keys officials are hoping Key West’s flamboyant annual Fantasy Fest will provide needed tourism revenue following Hurricane Irma.

The 10-day schedule of masquerade balls, parties and costume competitions begins Friday.

Conceived in 1979 to attract visitors, the festival traditionally brings about $30 million to the Keys each year. Its impact on the tourism-based economy, which employs about 50 percent of the local workforce, is particularly important this year, as recovery continues after Irma’s Sept. 10 passage through the island chain.

Themed “Time Travel Unravels,” the festival will feature events including a costume contest for pets, the exotic Headdress Ball and a masquerade march beginning at the Key West cemetery.

The festival’s highlight is an Oct. 28th evening parade expected to draw tens of thousands of revelers.

___

 

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Why Do Airlines Still Make Passengers Check In for Flights?

Chris Rank  / Delta Air Lines

Delta, the first U.S. operator of the Airbus A350, is no longer making some customers check in for flights. Chris Rank / Delta Air Lines

Skift Take: Let’s remember that this is not a new concept. Continental Airlines introduced automatic check-in about a decade ago, and while some customers liked it, it did not make travel more enjoyable for most travelers.

— Brian Sumers

Airports are the gateway through which we escape our daily drudgery. They allow us to wing our way to vacations, family reunions, even business junkets. But tainting every trip is the prospect of stress and frustration that comes with negotiating an infrastructure that envelops us from fare shopping to seat belt-click.

There’s the ticketing counter, the kiosks, the bag check, the bag claim, security queues, pat downs, crowded gates, boarding pass scans, jet bridge loitering, overhead bin mishegas—you get the idea. And that’s not even a full review of the pain points. There has to be an easier way.

This resistance to the unhindered flow of travelers hasn’t escaped the airlines who are partially to blame for it. They are spending large sums for technology to ease your journey, and the day isn’t terribly far off when your eyeball or fingerprint will guide you through security, airport lounges, and boarding gate. That day, however, is not this day.

Delta Air Lines Inc. recently struck a tiny blow for greater transit efficiency by automatically checking in some passengers for their flights and putting an electronic boarding pass in the traveler’s Delta mobile app. The change eliminates the traditional “It’s time to check in” reminder. Currently, Delta allows auto check-in only for those who use the airline’s mobile app, are traveling domestically, and have enrolled in its SkyMiles loyalty program. Some airlines, including JetBlue Airways Corp. and easyJet Plc, allow you to pay the bag fee upfront when booking, but you still have to go to the counter to drop it off.

“They haven’t escaped the 1920s—seriously”

This raises some obvious questions: Why must airline customers still check in at all? And why is a boarding pass divorced from the ticket sale? Shouldn’t one be able to obtain both simultaneously? And will paper ever disappear entirely from air travel?

“They haven’t escaped the 1920s—seriously,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst at Atmosphere Research Group. “Airline check-in dates back to the beginning of airline travel when we had paper tickets.”

The process, however, does serve a purpose important to airline bottom lines. It remains a decent proxy for how many people will miss a flight, helping carriers manage no-shows and fill those empty spots. These days, you typically lose your seat if you don’t check in at least 30-45 minutes ahead of a flight. But with ever-rising load factors feeding robust, year-round stand-by lists, tracking no-shows is less important given that the carrier will almost certainly fill the seat.

For airlines like Delta, one procedural hiccup to thinning check-in make-work is the federal mandate that each traveler acknowledge the items prohibited aboard airplanes—i.e., no toxic chemicals or filled gasoline pails may be brought aboard. This currently happens during check-in. Delta deals with this by putting the images of banned items on a screen in its app, ahead of access to one’s boarding pass.

Secondly, auto check-in could create trouble for itineraries that involve more than one airline, said Rhonda Crawford, Delta’s vice president of global distribution and digital strategy. Say you’re flying from Lisbon to Seattle via Amsterdam, and then returning to Lisbon. If you take KLM for the European portion and Delta across the Atlantic, both airlines would need to harmonize their procedures for auto check-in to work. (In the mid-2000s, Continental Airlines experimented with auto check-in for the return trip when a traveler checked in for a round-trip ticket. That function ended after the 2010 merger with United.)

There’s another way in which making your life easier may mean less money for airlines. By reducing the number of times you interact with a carrier, the airline is also cutting the number of times it can sell you a cabin upgrade, extra-legroom seats, additional frequent-flier miles, Wi-Fi access—all add-ons that are commonly offered on airline web sites and at airport kiosks.

“Within two years or so this could become the industry norm”

Moreover, despite years of airline efforts to have you book directly on their web sites, millions of passengers prefer to buy from online travel agencies or, in the case of business travel, must use their corporate travel department. That means the airline doesn’t always have an email or phone number to solicit for that extra revenue.

Still, for travelers weary of paper and bureaucracy, change is coming. Next up may be boarding passes via email for everyone, Harteveldt said, matching the wide use of e-passes currently offered via airline mobile apps. The ubiquity of smartphones also means that airlines are very likely to eliminate paper, one day, and the number of social messaging platforms—from Facebook to WhatsApp to Twitter—offers airlines plenty of places to conduct these transactions, even for people not keen to download a carrier’s app.

“You take a crawl, walk, run approach,” Harteveldt said. “I think within two years or so this could become the industry norm, or at least widely used.”

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Justin Bachman from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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Indonesia is Building New Bali-Like Destinations to Lure More Chinese Tourists

Thomas Depenbusch  / Flickr

The Indonesia government is under pressure to boost tourism to grow the country’s GDP. Pictured are visitors at Mount Batur in Bali. Thomas Depenbusch / Flickr

Skift Take: Bali has a history of over-developing its environment and slowly eroding the peace and tranquility many tourists go there for. More development won’t solve that problem but perhaps the government can learn from past mistakes.

— Dan Peltier

As China’s burgeoning class of affluent travelers seek out more exotic destinations, Indonesia is cashing in.

China is on track to become the biggest tourist market for Indonesia for the first time this year, overtaking Singapore. That’s after a 46 percent surge in visitors from the world’s second-largest economy to 1.4 million in the first eight months of the year.

President Joko Widodo is banking on that kind of demand to help transform the tourism industry into an engine of growth for years to come. To do that, he wants to develop destinations beyond Bali, the so-called Island of the Gods, where tropical beach resorts, volcanoes and famed temples have long been the main drawcard for visitors to the nation.

“All over the world they are trying to catch the Chinese market,” Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said in an interview in Jakarta. “For sure, the easiest way to increase the number of tourists is to target China.”

While Indonesia currently captures about one percent of the more than 120 million Chinese who travel abroad each year, Yahya is aiming to double that, targeting advertising in key locations in China. It’s a goldmine that’s set to bring in billions of dollars, he said, but will also need billions of dollars in investment.

As part of his sweeping vision for developing the vast Indonesian archipelago, a string of more than 17,000 islands, the president has laid out an ambitious infrastructure agenda, and a plan to make tourism a key part of the country’s future prosperity. He is under pressure to find new sources of growth for an economy that’s expanding about five percent, well short of the seven percent target he set when he came to office three years ago.

Jokowi, as the president is known, has vowed to double tourist numbers to 20 million a year by 2019, when his first term ends, and broaden out the destinations beyond Bali, which drew nearly four million visitors in the first eight months of this year, almost half of the nine million arrivals to Indonesia in the period.

To do that, Jokowi wants to build 10 new Balis — a strategy that includes developing infrastructure in Sumatra in the country’s west to North Maluku in the east.

For an economy that’s still heavily dependent on commodities, such as palm oil and coal, tourism is a way of broadening the government’s foreign-currency revenue sources.

Jokowi’s plan, according to Yahya, will see the contribution of tourism to the economy climb to 7.5 percent by 2019 from 4.5 percent last year. Tourism receipts are forecast to grow more than 60 percent to $20.7 billion over the same period, with the number of jobs seen rising to 13 million from 11.8 million.

“We hope that tourism will become Indonesia’s largest source of foreign exchange contributions. I promised to Pak Jokowi and to Indonesia, I will make it happen,” Yahya said. “We believe for Indonesia, tourism and the creative industry can make this country a champion in the world.”

Even with that kind of growth, Indonesia is far behind neighboring countries in developing tourism and targeting Chinese visitors. Thailand’s industry makes up about 18 percent of gross domestic product, with the country’s famed beaches and nightlife attracting 26 million foreign visitors so far this year, 28 percent of them coming from China. Indonesia also trails Singapore and Malaysia in the number of tourists.

The government will need to find ways to get Chinese visitors to spend more. Travelers from the Middle East drop an average of $1,700 per visit and Australians spend $1,500, compared to $1,100 by Chinese tourists. Yahya said he wants to target wealthier Chinese and “grab the middle and upper market” as well as lure more business from India.

Funding Jokowi’s 10 New Balis plan will be a big challenge. Yahya estimates the industry needs $20 billion of investment over five years, of which about $10 billion will come from the government. Given its vast infrastructure needs in everything from ports to roads, and a budget deficit cap of three percent of GDP, authorities are seeking more private-sector funds.

“We need much more investment in infrastructure,” said Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra, Bali’s tourism office chief. “To be successful in tourism, infrastructure is very important, especially for accessibility. When we open a new destination and there is good accessibility, either by air or sea, the number of visitors will grow very fast.”

 

This article was written by Karlis Salna from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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IHG Is Planning to Create a New Luxury Brand

InterContinental Hotels Group

The InterContinental London – The O2. IHG is planning to create two new brands. InterContinental Hotels Group

Skift Take: IHG has fewer brands in its portfolio compared to most of its competitors, so adding a couple more makes sense.

— Patrick Whyte

InterContinental Hotels Group wants to develop a soft brand as well as a new offering in the luxury space as part of an attempt to grab a larger slice of the hotel market.

The plans follow the unveiling of the company’s new midscale brand Avid Hotels in September. In its third-quarter earnings update, IHG said the new offering had already received more than 50 applications in the first four weeks of franchise sales.

With the launch of Avid out of the way, the company’s chief financial officer, Paul Edgecliff-Johnson, said during a call with analysts that the focus would now turn to working on two new brand propositions.

The soft brand collection space – which lets hotel owners retain some independence while being able to utilize things like a chain’s reservation system – is an area IHG’s competitors have been keen to occupy in recent years.

Edgecliffe-Johnson also believes there is room for a luxury brand positioned above InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

“Something in the…collection space and something the luxury space are two logical next steps for us,” he said.

Edgecliffe-Johnson would not say whether IHG had shown an interest in licensing the luxury Orient Express brand, which was snapped up earlier this month by acquisition-hungry AccorHotels.

“A lot of owners would like to do more with us, but if they’ve already got an InterContinental in the market, then it’s difficult for us to give them another offering with the current number of brands we’ve got,” he said. “So we think there’s more business that we could do if we had something else in that segment.”

Third-Quarter Results

Europe and China were the star performers in IHG’s third quarter, helping to offset weaker growth in the U.S.

In Europe, revenue per available room, a key hotel industry metric, was up 7.1 percent during the quarter with IHG reporting a bounceback in markets that had previously been affected by terrorism including France, Belgium, and Turkey.

In Greater China, per-room revenue increased by 7.8 percent. IHG put this down to “weak comparables driven by one-off events in tier 2-3 cities in the quarter last year.”

In the U.S., RevPAR only rose by 0.4 percent in the quarter, with hurricanes Harvey and Irma having a mixed impact on the company. Group cancellations hurt the managed side of the business, but those with franchises benefitted from “displacement activity together with the relief and reconstruction efforts.”

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Video: Why Singapore Represents The Next Generation of Travel

Skift Take: Skift Forum Asia will take place in October 2018 in Singapore.

— Dawn Rzeznikiewicz

At Skift, we see the Singapore as the gateway to Asia. It’s where innovation is being tested and knowledge is being exchanged to spur what the next generation of travel is all about.

That’s why Skift has chosen Singapore to be home to the first ever Skift Forum in Asia, taking place in 2018.

Attendees at Skift Global Forum 2017 had a chance to preview Singapore Tourism Board’s new brand campaign, which highlights how people with vision, drive, ingenuity and a never-settling spirit, overcome the odds to forge new possibilities that inspire and make a difference.

Watch the campaign videos below.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information and conversation. In 2018, Skift will be analyzing travel trends around the globe with four Forums. Get the details now and register here.

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