Track shipments

US Labor Day road trips on track to match last year

Skift grip

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Labor Day road trips, Korean Air successes and innovative hotel design.

Rashaad Jordan

Hello from Skift. It’s Monday, August 22 in New York. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

listen now

🎧 Subscribe

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Covered | Google Podcasts

Episode Notes

Hospitality editor Sean O’Neill writes that hotel design is largely bland and in need of radical innovation, this after Skift released its list of the world’s top 15 hotel designers . So what explains the lack of creativity overall? O’Neill turns to architect John Hardy for answers in this week’s Early Check-In news column.

Hardy, president of hotel development company The Hardy Group, sees hotel brands doing the bare minimum to stand out from their rivals, often to make it easier to sell franchises to hotel owners. Hardy also said lenders and landlords discourage design creativity.

But Hardy thinks outside pressure can help hotel brands be more innovative. He created the Radical Innovation Awards to provide a platform for brands he sees pushing the boundaries of hotel design. O’Neill writes that these awards uncovered concepts that the hospitality industry has since popularized, including one for hotel rooftop gardens. Hardy added that increasing nature-centered hospitality experiences could help spur innovation.

Next, more than half of Americans plan to take road trips for Labor Day weekend despite concerns about high gas prices, reports editorial assistant Rashaad Jorden.

A survey by travel industry website The Vacationer found that about 53% of American adults plan to take Labor Day trips. About 137 million Americans plan to travel over the holiday weekend, a figure similar to the number of trips planned for Labor Day last year. But with nearly 53% of respondents planning to take some sort of Labor Day road trip, gas prices remain a significant concern for travelers. Despite recent relief at the pumps and far lower costs than almost any other country in the world, 50% of Americans said high prices would impact their Labor Day travel plans. While The Vacationer co-founder Eric Jones said travelers won’t give up on trips, he thinks they’ll likely opt for cheaper or shorter trips this Labor Day.

Korean Air has survived the pandemic without loss but faces new challenges Finally, Korean Air finds itself with the rare distinction of being the only major global airline not to have incurred a loss during the pandemic, largely in because of its cargo operations. But the carrier is still grappling with a slow recovery in passenger traffic, reports Asia editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Although Korean Air posted a profit of around $570 million in the second quarter, cargo continues to make up the overwhelming majority of its revenue. Passenger revenue represents only 14% of Korea Air’s total revenue. Bhutia writes that the carrier’s passenger traffic difficulties stem from South Korea’s incomplete reopening, unlike Southeast Asian countries. Aviation analyst Brendan Sobie says South Korea needs to relax pre-departure and arrival testing requirements, which he says are impacting travel demand.