Hilton promotes responsible business travel

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Skift grip

Today’s edition of Skift’s Daily Podcast examines Hilton’s support for corporate travel departments, Latam’s strong earnings and Fora Travel’s wooing of new agents.

Rashaad Jordan

Hello from Skift. Today is Wednesday August 31. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

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Episode Notes

South America’s largest carrier, Latam Airlines Group, posted its first profit in the pandemic era, and the company is poised for greater momentum due to the faster-than-expected recovery of travel on the continent, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Latam posted a profit of $273 million in July, its first monthly profit since the pandemic began. The Chile-based company attributed its successful month to growing travel demand. Passenger traffic in South America was just 14% below 2019 levels in June, while Brazil’s domestic market was down 4%. Travel demand in Brazil, which has one of the largest domestic markets in the world, is expected to rise, Russell notes.

With Latam forecasting to be in the red for 2022, Russell adds that the carrier expects a major windfall from its new partnership with Delta Air Lines. The joint venture will allow the two airlines to coordinate flights between the United States and South America as well as share revenues and expenses.

Second, despite repeatedly emphasizing sustainability with its corporate clients, Hilton has found that not all companies take the issue seriously. The hospitality giant is therefore pushing its corporate responsibility platform to help travel managers better understand their environmental impact, reports Matthew Parsons, corporate travel editor.

Hilton’s LightStay platform enables the company’s managed and franchised hotels to report numbers such as energy, water and waste data on a monthly basis. However, a senior executive said not all companies ask for such information. While Parsons writes that green travel goals will fall short without full hospitality industry buy-in, Hilton is pushing the platform’s sustainability certifications to its corporate clients.

These certifications could be crucial in convincing guests that the sustainability data provided by Hilton is helpful rather than confusing, adds Parsons.

We conclude today by looking at a company that aims to reinvent the travel agency and the role of travel agents. Editor Dennis Schaal delves into Fora Travel’s business model, which heavily targets potential agents new to the travel industry.

Fora Travel, which has raised $18.5 million in venture capital, has expressed its goal of adding 100,000 agents to the industry. The company, unlike other travel agencies, provides candidates with modest training before they start selling travel, largely as a side business. Although Fora Travel will eventually charge travel agent membership fees, co-founder Evan Frank said its business model will be driven by hotel and travel commissions.

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