Today’s podcast discusses Airbnb’s enhancements for hosts, Las Vegas’ latest big attraction, and Singapore Air’s earnings.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, November 9. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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Airbnb released its latest set of product enhancements on Wednesday — including Guest Favorites, new badges that identify customers’ favorite homes, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Schaal writes that Airbnb will place a Guest Favorites badge on 2 million of its properties. Those badges will help travelers pick stays based on homes’ ratings. Schaal notes that hosts will benefit from several other features as well. Airbnb said hosts will be able to create AI-powered photo tours of their homes in seconds.
In addition, Airbnb said it’s overhauling ratings and reviews to make them more guest-friendly. Guests will be able to sort reviews by when they were written and their rating scores.
Next, Las Vegas’ Sphere arena opened to much fanfare in September, headlined by a U2 concert. But will it be a profitable venue? Newly released data highlighted the risks and rewards of the $2.3 billion structure, writes Travel Experiences Reporter Selene Brophy.
While Sphere Entertainment CEO James Dolan expressed optimism about the Sphere’s potential, Brophy notes analysts are uncertain if it will generate enough revenue to offset the enormous initial investments. Revenue from the Sphere’s opening didn’t cover its first quarter direct operating expenses.
However, one media executive said the Sphere was on its way to becoming a global landmark due to the publicity it’s already received. Brophy adds its owners are hopeful upcoming major events in Las Vegas will help expose visitors to the venue.
Finally, Singapore Airlines is coming off a strong September quarter. But the company is not resting on its laurels as its rivals continue their recoveries, reports Edward Russell, editor of Skift publication Airline Weekly.
Singapore Airlines posted a $589 million operating profit during the quarter. Company executives attributed the success to strong peak summer travel demand and lower fuel prices. And Russell writes the carrier is developing a multi-part strategy to maintain a competitive advantage, including extending its network of airline partnerships around the world.
Russell adds that Singapore Airlines is working to increase connectivity over the city-state’s Changi Airport. Singapore Airlines and budget subsidiary Scoot plan to serve 23 destinations in China by December.