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Travel Industry Roundup | October 14

Coach, business class, hotels, Airbnb: Rocketrip’s weekly coverage of travel news has something for everyone. 


Why Coach Seats Have Hardly Changed

Everyone knows that coach seats don’t go back very far. But why is it that they don’t ever seem to go forward, in the sense of getting any better? Skift explores the lack of forward progress and innovation, and concludes that it results from an acute case of if-it-ain’t-broke-itis. Demand is strong from bargain-seeking travelers, and coach cabins remain full. Airplane manufacturers are, “so busy churning out traditional coach seats that they have little impetus to change.” So in an era when first class cabins have seemingly become laboratories for testing the known limits of luxury, the cheap seats aren’t likely to get any fancier.


Corporate Use of Business and First Class Remains Flat

Despite signs of a sustained economic recovery and low airfares, business travelers have not been splurging on premium-class seats, according to a survey from Travel Leaders Group. Business Travel News says that “organizations remain cautious about extending premium-class allowances too far.” When a policy does allow employees to fly in business class, it’s usually for reasons of increased productivity. Unveils Loyalty Program for Business Travelers is trying hard to win over business travelers from unmanaged programs with a new rewards program. According to Skift, the Travel Reward Program offers customers who make more than five bookings access to exclusive discounts at select hotels and travel perks for future trips, possibly including free drinks (!). Sorry for burying that lead.


Qantas To Award Frequent Flyer Miles for Airbnb Stays

Qantas will follow the lead of Virgin America by granting its loyalty program members frequent flyer miles for every dollar they spend with Airbnb. Quartz calls this program for converting Airbnb stays into frequent flyer miles, “a sign the [home-sharing] platform is gaining acceptance among airlines, many of which are already partnered with traditional hotels.”


New Data Suggests Airbnb’s Effect on Hotels Is Moderate

What impact is Airbnb having on hotels in cities around the world? A new report from STR used data from the home-rental service to estimate the size of Airbnb’s presence in 13 major markets, and to determine how much Airbnb has affected hotel occupancy rates. Airbnb’s 2.3 million global listings make it larger on paper than the world’s largest hotel chain, Marriott – Starwood, fewer than one million of those listings are the sort of private rentals that can be compared to hotel rooms on a like for like basis. So while Airbnb does seem to be soaking up excess demand in markets with very high occupancy levels, hotels are still able to charge a premium of 35% during peak travel times.

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