Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Japan’s recovery from coronavirus, the big ideas from the Skift Global Forum, and the growth of Ennismore’s collaborative work.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, September 23. Here’s what you need to know about the travel business today.
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Travel industry leaders gathered this week at the Skift Global Forum in New York City to discuss important topics and top trends in travel, and amidst all the notable sound bites, corporate travel editor Matthew Parsons reports on three big takeaways from this year’s event.
One of the conclusions Parsons cites came from Frederic Lalonde, CEO of online travel agency Hopper. Lalonde said the key to creating new products is to be bold and experiment, even if it means making a loss. He said all of Hopper’s new products lose money, but added that the company is constantly trying to figure out what might work. Lalonde admitted that he was amazed at Hopper’s success in selling loot boxes (treasure chests with a mysterious gift) as part of a promotion in Puerto Rico.
Another important point of the forum was the call for tourism marketing specialists to sell real images of destinations. Kenyan author and conservationist Dr. Mordecai Ogada has criticized the travel industry for selling images of Africa from hundreds of years ago, subjects he said are primarily based on Tarzan. Parsons also listed the importance of executives being accessible to all staff members as an important lesson. Josh D’Amaro, president of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said interacting with employees as much as possible is crucial to building trust with staff.
We turn next to the main news from Japan. The country announced on Thursday that it will restore visa-free entry for independent travelers from October 11, Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia reports.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also said Japan would remove the daily cap on arrivals on the same date. Those moves ended two-and-a-half years of strict travel restrictions that severely limited the number of international travelers to Japan. However, foreign tourists will need to be fully vaccinated or test negative for Covid prior to arrival.
At the same time restrictions are lifted, the Japanese government will bring back its national travel discount program to boost domestic tourism. The program was stopped after a spike in Covid cases.
Finally, hotel company Ennismore plans to expand its co-working spaces it calls “Work From” to all of its 14 hotel brands, corporate travel publisher Parsons reports in this week’s Future of Work report.
The group’s Hoxton properties in London and Chicago are currently its only hotels that operate co-working spaces. But founder and co-CEO Sharan Pasricha told the Skift Global Forum this week that Ennismore would expand Working From to other Ennismore hotels, including Hyde and Mama Shelter. Pasricha described Working From, which she founded in 2019, as a “boomerang success,” citing the waiting list of 400 people who wanted to join her co-working space in London.