Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Florida’s tourism concerns, IHG’s good news and bad news, and Amazon’s Hawaiian Air investment.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, October 24. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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While Hurricane Ian’s extensive damage was limited to southwestern Florida, its widespread media coverage dealt the state’s tourism officials the challenge of convincing travelers it’s open and safe for visitors. So Florida’s tourism board has launched a marketing campaign to combat that negative media impact, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.
Visit Florida’s campaign — titled Sun’s Shining in Florida — features timestamped images of popular attractions from early October without any sign of damage from the hurricane. Popular Florida destinations such as Orlando and Tampa are welcoming visitors while some hotels in Fort Myers, which was battered by the hurricane that killed more than 100 people in the state, have reopened. But with Habtemariam writing that the negative coverage is a mountain to overcome, Visit Florida CEO and President Dana Young expressed frustration about TV viewers constantly seeing footage of debris.
Next, the InterContinental Hotels Group reported a surge in revenue during its third quarter earnings call on Friday. But IHG’s good news was tempered by Chief Financial Officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson announcing that he’s leaving the company, reports Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill.
IHG saw its revenue per available room — a key hotel industry metric — rise close to 3 percent from the same period in 2019. It was the first quarter since the start of the pandemic that IHG’s revenue per available room exceeded pre-Covid levels. In addition, the company also saw its average daily rate for the third quarter increase nearly 7 percent from the same timeframe in 2019.
However, O’Neill writes that IHG will be hit hard by Edgecliffe-Johnson’s departure in six months to assume a role at sports betting and gaming operator Flutter Entertainment. O’Neill added his exit may shake investors’ confidence in IHG.
Finally, Amazon is moving closer to investing in Hawaiian Airlines as part of a deal that will see the carrier fly freighters for the e-commerce giant, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
Hawaiian will operate up to 10 Airbus freighters for cargo airline Amazon Air starting next year. Hawaiian CEO Peter Ingram said partnering with Amazon would create a new revenue stream for the carrier, which struggled during the pandemic. Air cargo has been booming since the start of the crisis, driving carriers such as Korean Air to profits. Meanwhile, Russell adds that Amazon could be a significant minority shareholder in Hawaiian, possibly taking up to a 15 percent stake in the airline.