Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Amazon Debuts Cyber Week Travel Deals

2 days ago

Amazon launched what one executive said was its “first-ever” Cyber Week Travel Deals.

Amazon’s travel deals hub offered sales from the likes of American Airlines, Disney, Universal, Budget, Choice, Avis, IHG and Carnival, for example.

American Airlines, for instance, was offering a Black Friday deal of $89 for a one-way Philadelphia to Charlotte flight on January 24, for instance.

The ads appeared on in its travel deals hub, and when users clicked on an ad, then Amazon directed them to the supplier website.

Amazon offers flights in India in partnership with MakeMyTrip, but doesn’t currently have a U.S.-oriented travel offering.


IDEAS: Alaska Airlines Unveils Disney Inspired Aircraft, ‘Mickey’s Toontown Express’

3 weeks ago

Alaska Airlines has unveiled its latest Disney themed aircraft, aptly named ‘Mickey’s Toontown Express,’ which has been inspired by Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland Park.

Alaska Airlines Mickey’s Toontown Disney Livery launch
Credit: Joe Nicholson / Alaska Airlines

The Boeing 737-800, which is now flying routes across Alaska’s network, features Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, and saw artists spend 400 hours hand-painting the design onto the aircraft exterior.

Take a look at the time lapse showing the painting process below:

According to a release from Alaska Airlines, this is the eighth livery the carrier has created in collaboration with Disneyland Resorts, and will also see a selection of Disney themed activity books and snack packs offered on board, while supplies last.

Joe Nicholson / Alaska Airlines

“It’s heartening how much our Disneyland Resort-themed airplanes spark joy in our guests — young and young at heart. What makes this even more special is the return of Mickey Mouse on an Alaska Airlines plane since he made his debut on our fleet eight years ago,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska’s senior vice-president of marketing and guest experience.

“Alaska’s long-standing relationship with the Disneyland Resort has helped to create unforgettable experiences for our guests and employees. As a family-friendly airline, it speaks to the care we strive to show everyday with these special touches.”

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Tour Operators

ToursByLocals Appoints Lisa Chen as New CEO

2 months ago

ToursByLocals has appointed Lisa Chen as its new CEO. The leadership change comes as co-founder and former CEO Paul Melhus steps into the role of Executive Chairman of the Board.

Chen initially joined the company in February 2023 as president and brings extensive experience from her previous executive roles at Expedia and Disney.

With 135 core employees, over and above the guides who list on the platform from across 190 countries, the Canadian-based ToursByLocals hit its 2 million customers milestone in May 2023.

Tritium Partners, investors in the company’s $33 million Series A raise just before the pandemic, said it was confident in Chen’s experience to head up the business as a two-sided marketplace.


Disney CEO Bob Iger’s Surprise Possible Replacement Revealed

9 months ago

A shortlist of potential executives to succeed Disney CEO Bob Iger has surfaced, bringing a few surprises to the search for his replacement.

An unexpected inclusion, according to the list reported by Fox Business, is NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is currently under contract with the basketball league through 2024.

Kevin Mayer, co-CEO and founder of Candle Media, a U.S. production company, is also on the list. A former Disney executive, Mayer left the company to head up TikTok’s operations in America after Bob Chapek initially succeeded Iger.

Dana Walden, currently the co-chief of Disney Entertainment, has also been listed as one of the possible replacements for Iger. While previous reports indicated a possible succession by Josh D’Amaro, Disney chairman, he was not mentioned in this potential list.

Iger recently reorganized the company, adding a Disney entertainment business unit to be overseen by Walden and Alan Bergman. D’Amaro remains in charge of the third division within the company, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Iger’s reappointment came with the stipulation that he would find his successor before retiring again in two years’ time. Disney has since set up a succession planning committee to help find the executive’s replacement, but there has been no indication of when Iger’s successor will be confirmed.


Disney Parks Chairman D’Amaro Mentioned Among Possible Successors to CEO Iger

1 year ago

Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman, could become the next CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

The company on Sunday announced Bob Iger was returning to lead Disney as CEO, replacing Bob Chapek. Iger will work closely with Disney’s board to recruit the next person to lead the company after his two-year stint.

Now D’Amaro could be next in line, according to reports.

D’Amaro recently spoke at Skift Global Forum, where he discussed how the company will continue to thrive and push boundaries around storytelling and experiences.

Meanwhile, Reuters said Dana Walden, a former Fox television executive who leads Disney’s General Entertainment Content group, was another potential internal candidate.

Whoever takes over, a big challenge will be managing Disney+, the brand’s all-in streaming video strategy, according to Reuters.

Business Travel

Disney Cutting Business Travel and Meetings-Related Travel After Belt Tightening

1 year ago

The first tremors of economic slowdown are beginning to be felt in the travel industry: even though Disney Parks had a record quarter, the overall parent company had a disappointing quarter in its other businesses and is now planning a hiring freeze, job cuts and other expense cuts. As part of that, CNBC reports that in a memo sent by Disney CEO Bob Chapek today, the company is cutting back on business travel as well as travel for events and internal meetings.

From the memo: “In the immediate term, business travel should now be limited to essential trips only. In-person work sessions or offsites requiring travel will need advance approval and review from a member of your executive team (i.e., direct report of the segment chairman or corporate executive officer). As much as possible, these meetings should be conducted virtually. Attendance at conferences and other external events will also be restricted and require approvals from a member of your executive team.”

This comes as tech companies are going through a blistering round of layoffs that are starting to have first order and more downstream effects in the travel sector.


Disney Parks Posts Record Quarterly Revenue Even With Some Closures

1 year ago

The Walt Disney Corporation announced on Tuesday during its fourth quarter earnings call that its theme park division generated $7.42 billion worth of revenue, a division record and a 36 percent increase from the same period last year.

Disney’s theme parks posted record revenue for the quarter ending Oct. 1 despite Hurricane Ian forcing the closure of all Walt Disney World parks in Florida for two days in September and Shanghai Disneyland’s strict entry rules limiting the number of visitors. Disney Parks’ quarterly operating income of $1.5 billion was more than double last year’s figure. In addition, Disney also said its theme park division also set all-time records in both revenue and operating income for a full year.

However, Disney reported weaker than-expected-quarterly earnings in large part due to its streaming business losing $1.47 billion during the period. The company’s recorded $20.2 billion worth of revenue for the fourth quarter. Analysts had projected Disney to generate $21.27 billion of revenue.

Disney World entrance
Disney Parks posted record revenue for the fourth quarter despite the brief closure of Disney World in September. (Jrobertiko/Wikimedia Commons)


Eurostar to Suspend Disneyland Paris Trains

1 year ago

Britons will not be able to grab a direct train to Disneyland Paris next summer. High-speed rail operator Eurostar will suspend service between London and the theme park on the outskirts of Paris on June 5, 2023, it told travel agents Wednesday.

Eurostar, which is owned by French rail operator SNCF, said it needs to “focus on our core routes to stabilize our operations” for the decision to suspend trains the European outpost of the Magic Kingdom. The railroad also mentioned financial commitments, and new entry and exit requirements between the UK and EU.

In a bit of good news, Eurostar said it would “review” its operations for 2024, leaving open the door for a possible resumption of train service to Disneyland Paris.

(Joe JABRE/Flickr)

During the first six months of the year, Eurostar said business travel on its core London-Paris route had recovered to 70 percent of 2019 levels without providing exact numbers; it operated roughly 75 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule. SNCF Voyageurs, which includes Eurostar as well as SNCF’s other passenger train services, has reported a strong rebound in passenger numbers on its trains during the first half of the year, particularly from March.

SNCF received approval from European authorities to merge Eurostar and Thalys, which operates high-speed passenger trains in Belgium and the Netherlands, into the new Eurostar Group in March. The new company plans to grow ridership to 30 million people by 2030 from 19 million in 2019.


Brightline Adjusts Disney World Station Plans For Tampa Extension

1 year ago

Private passenger rail operator Brightline is going it alone on a station near Disney World as part of its planned extension from Orlando to Tampa.

The railroad had been working jointly with Disney on a station at Disney Springs that would have served the entertainment company’s parks. However, Disney surprisingly pulled out of the agreement on Monday, telling the Orlando Sentinel that a change to the planned alignment did not “support a Disney Springs station.” The new alignment, which was agreed to earlier this year, includes a stop at the Orange County Convention Center between the Orlando airport and the planned Disney station.

Brightline’s preferred alignment through Orlando. (Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission)

Brightline said Tuesday that it would build “an alternative station … located near the original Disney Springs site, albeit not on Disney-owned land.” It added that the new alignment, which will be jointly built with the Orlando-area rail operator SunRail, would “provide access to the largest economic and employment centers in Central Florida and offer the best opportunity for the success of Brightline and SunRail.”

The Disney station changes come as Brightline prepares to begin running test trains from Miami to Orlando by the end of the year. Passenger service between Florida’s two largest cities is expected to begin early next year.

Brightline ridership between Miami and West Palm Beach in South Florida is running 20 percent ahead of pre-pandemic levels.


Disney Makes Increased Investments in Theme Parks Despite Focus on Streaming

2 years ago

Disney isn’t neglecting its theme parks, considered crucial to the company’s bottom line, despite its increased focus on Disney+ and other streaming efforts during the last two years.

Disney will unveil its newest park expansion at the end of May — the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot. The attraction is based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” film and it features the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster. The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion follows other recent additions to Disney theme parks, such as Avengers Campus, which opened in June 2021 and the opening of Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. 

The company is working to complete Tron: Lightcycle Run rollercoaster and is expected to launch the Disney Wish, its newest cruise ship, this summer.

Disney will post its second fiscal quarter results on Wednesday. The company said in February that its domestic theme parks have not seen a significant return from international visitors, who prior to the pandemic, represented roughly 20 percent of its guests. Theme parks typically account for the majority of the revenue of Disney’s park division, which cruises and hotels. Disney’s shares are also down about 30 percent since January.




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