Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the speed bump slowing summer travel, why Qatar Airways isn’t thrilled with the World Cup, and why meetings are bouncing back.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, July 21 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Overcast | Google Podcasts
The travel industry’s recovery has hit a bump in the road. Skift Research’s newly released Skift Travel Health Index for June 2022 reveals the index’s score dropped for the first time this year. That’s largely due to airlines’ chaotic summer, reports Senior Research Analyst Wouter Geerts.
The index’s score fell only 1 percentage point from May’s figure. But Geerts writes the drop is a sign of airlines’ problems – such as staffing shortages that have caused widespread flight cancellations – hurting the travel industry as a whole. Most countries have seen a decrease in seats appearing in flight schedules, according to data from aviation analytics firm OAG.
The airline industry’s brutal summer is also significantly impacting travelers’ interest in flying, Geerts notes. Skift Research found global flight searches in June were 42 percent of 2019 levels. That’s a 26 percentage point drop from the figure recorded the previous month.
Next, Qatar is projected to welcome 1.5 million visitors when it hosts soccer’s World Cup this November and December. However, Qatar Airways, the Gulf State’s flag carrier, views the tournament as a pain, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.
CEO Akbar Al Baker explained how the event will affect the airline earlier this week at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK. While Al Baker didn’t say if the airline would lose money in November and December, it will suspend flights or reduce schedules to more than 30 destinations during the tournament. Qatar Airways will also revamp its schedule to allow other airlines to add flights to Doha Airport for the World Cup.
But Russell writes that recording a loss during the World Cup may not be a problem for Qatar Airways. He adds the airline might view global exposure from the World Cup as more important than a brief period in the red.
Finally, the meetings and events industry is making a stronger than expected recovery, reports Andrea Doyle, the Senior Editor for Skift Meetings.
The US meetings and events industry is projected to make a 72 percent recovery by the end of 2022. That’s according to data and hospitality technology company Knowland, which released the quarterly update to its US Meetings Recovery Forecast on Wednesday. The figure is a 14 percentage point jump from the company’s previous forecast. Knowland CEO Jeff Bzdawka said meetings and events with fewer than 200 attendees were speeding up the rate of recovery.
Doyle adds the meetings and events industry is expected to make a complete recovery next year.