5 Things To Know for Feb. 7

5 Things To Know for Feb. 7

Today’s Headlines: Frontier Airlines To Buy Spirit in $6.6 Billion Deal; Travel Industry Prepares for Endemic COVID-19; California Hotel Sales Break Multiple Records; Airfares Surge for Spring and Summer Travel; Future of Hotel Minibars Questioned in Age of Mobile Delivery


By Bryan Wroten | Hotel News Now
February 7, 2022 | 7:23 AM

Editor’s Note: Some linked articles may be behind subscription paywalls.

1. Frontier Airlines To Buy Spirit in $6.6 Billion Deal

Frontier Airlines will buy Spirit Airlines for $2.9 billion in a cash-and-stock deal, but the total price is $6.6 billion when accounting for the assumption of debt and other liabilities, the Associated Press reports. The deal would create the fifth-largest airline in the U.S.

“This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our guests even better, expand career opportunities for our team members and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie III said in a prepared statement.

2. Travel Industry Prepares for Endemic COVID-19

As countries loosen coronavirus restrictions, and ease lockdown measures and testing requirements for vaccinated individuals, the travel industry is preparing for COVID-19 to transition from pandemic status to endemic.

Travel industry groups are calling on the U.S. government to end testing requirements for U.S.-bound travelers who are vaccinated.

“When I use the word pandemic, I think of the two years where we sheltered in place, but endemic is very similar to what I’m doing now — traveling for business as an entrepreneur, but also for vacation and seeing friends and family that I’ve missed,” said Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, a co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel, a New York-based travel consulting company.

3. California Hotel Sales Break Multiple Records

According to the latest Atlas Hospitality Group survey, California hotel transactions in 2021 broke records for number of sales, total dollar volume, median price per key and the number of deals for more than $1 million per key and more than $2 million per key, reports HNN’s Bryan Wroten. The Alila Ventana Big Sur was counted twice in these records as the property sold twice last year, both times at more than $2.5 million per key.

“The private equity is coming out and placing the money and seeing, even at the high prices and the low cap rates, that they’re able to generate a better return for their investors than they would if they were just leaving it in a bank,” Atlas President Alan Reay said.

4. Airfares Surge for Spring and Summer Travel

Airlines cut prices during the pandemic in hopes of encouraging would-be travelers, but data from travel booking firm Hopper.com shows carriers are raising prices for the spring and summer travel season, the Dallas Morning News reports. January prices were about 18% below pre-pandemic levels, but those are rising, as the price of an average round-trip ticket by June is up to $315, a 33% increase over current prices.

“Everything is more expensive, even for kids wanting to backpack through Europe,” said Jenny Westermann, a travel agent with Sanders Travel Centre in Fort Worth. “It’s not just plane tickets and hotels; it’s museums and trains, too.

“Once travelers realize that everything is going to cost more, they are accepting the increases.”

5. Future of Hotel Minibars Questioned in Age of Mobile Delivery

The convenience of the hotel minibar has tempted many tired travelers, but the cost for food and drinks was enough to give them pause, the Washington Post reports. Over time, more and more hotels have opted not to offer this in-room amenity. In the digital age, with the ability to order food and have it delivered through mobile apps, the future of hotel minibars is even murkier.

“Are minibars still necessary if you can order things to be delivered to you, whether it’s at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. or 2 a.m.?” said Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group.

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