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United Airlines' loyalty program worth $22B

United Airlines  values its loyalty program at $22B, Skift reports.  Opening the secret box to the industry's most valuable assets... its loyalty member audience and point currency. As the travel landscape changes, companies will have to look at ways to leverage their loyalty program members as an addressable audience in new ways without eroding trust. Not since  Air Canada   sold (and then bought back) its loyalty program, have we had such a public view of the revenue-generating power of loyalty. United's program generated 12% of the airline's total revenue in 2019, you bet that number will be much higher in 2020, and they will be looking for ways to continue to grow that number. Important to note that hotel companies have turned to their loyalty programs as for financing as well, by pre-selling points to their credit card partners.  Both Hilton and Marriott have presold close to $1B dollars each.  Will we start valuing travel companies by the size of their loyalty program
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US Hotel Occupancy Hits 50% Milestone, But Growth Trails China & Europe

 For the week ending August 15, the US hotel occupancy finally went above 50% for the first time since the pandemic began.  That being said, the occupancy rate of growth continued to trail that of China and Europe.  That is to say that China and Europe are recovering at a faster pace than the US--we are all on the same road to recovery, the US is just not hitting the accelerator as much.  

Occupancy continues to grow, albeit at a decelerated pace. Is the occupancy plateau near?

 The week ending August 1st, brought US Occupancy to 48.9%, according to STR, up 1.8% over the previous week. Here we see the occupancy by week. While this is quite an improvement from the 22% occupancy we saw back in April, the rate of growth is slowing.  Over the last five weeks, we have seen the rate of growth average 1.6%, which is much lower than the rate of growth we saw over the previous 2 months of 7.8%.  The chart below shows the occupancy change week to week, 15 out of the last 16 weeks have seen growth. This occupancy growth has been fueled by leisure demand, of concern is the looming end of the summer vacation period.  Chris Nassetta, Hilton's CEO, mentioned in their most recent earnings call that he expects Business/Corporate demand to offset the drop in Leisure as we enter the fall.  Suggesting that leisure demand is unlikely to continue at its current pace indefinately.  

Benchmark Report Shows Importance of Paid Marketing in Driving Traffic

Sabre released their 2020 benchmark report showing that a higher percentage of traffic came to hotel websites via CPC/Paid Search; up to 18% of all traffic in 2019 from 14% in the previous year.   While Organic Search continues to drive the most traffic (44%), it has decreased 5pts from 2018.  This highlights the continued importance of SEO in driving traffic organically, as well as the importance of a healthy investment in Paid Search and CPC.  This suggests an increase in hotel investments in CPC, as well as, an increase in the ability for paid search to drive traffic.   Key Takeaways Organic Search continues to reign at the top for driving traffic CPC/Paid Search continues to grow in importance for the hotel industry Direct traffic importance has not changed in the last year Show me the data Traffic Change from 2018 to 2019 Show me the numbers Sources Tables and charts by with data from Sabre's past 2 reports Sabre 2020 benchmark report (

Google Search data suggests travel recovery is still a ways to go

Google search data shows that people are not searching for the popular "Hotel", "Flights", and "Travel" terms anywhere near as much as last year, or earlier in the year for that matter.  Furthermore, most of the related searches for "Travel" and "Flights" are around cancellations and Covid19 restrictions.  On the bright side during the week leading into July 4th, search for "Hotels" was at roughly 75% of last years levels. The term "Travel" is roughly at the same level as last year but searches for "Flights" are considerably down.  What am I looking at? In the graph above, you are seeing US search volume for the terms "Hotels" in blue, "Travel" in red, and "Flights"in yellow--from June 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.  The lines compare search volume across the terms and across time.  The scale is relative to the highest searched term at a particular period in time.  A value of

US Hotel occupancy above 40% for the first time in 3 months

STR reports US Hotel occupancy is above 40% for the first time in about 3 months, for the week ending June 13.   For context, it took us 5 weeks to gain 10%pts in occupancy, we broke 30% on the week ending May 9.   The lowest point was back on April 11, where we closed the week at 22%.  In those 5 weeks, the new Covid-19 case count has remained relatively flat; meaning that we have not seen a significant decrease in new COVID cases (7-day average) being reported.   Originally in LinkedIn, join the conversation below:

Seven Weeks of Modest Occupancy Growth for US Hotels

Weekly US Hotel Demand Update: Week-ending May 20th was the 7th straight week of modest occupancy improvement; at 35%, up from a low of 21% on April 11th. Despite the increase, this is still a 70% RevPAR decline vs last year. April closed out with the worst RevPAR decline ever, down 80% in the US. Driven by declines north of 90% at Upper Upscale & Luxury properties. Top 25 markets continue to be heavily impacted. Finally, on the development front, the pipeline has peaked, with a number of projects on early stages moving to abandoned or postponed. Originally from LinkedIn: