Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at AirAsia’s superapp dreams, Turkey’s Russian angle, and employee mental health at hotels.
Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, January 31. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
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Southeast Asia’s largest budget carrier AirAsia no longer aims to launch a lifestyle superapp. But Tony Fernandes, CEO of its parent company Capital A, is shifting his focus to developing a superapp solely devoted to travel, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
Fernandes said in an exclusive interview with Skift that AirAsia would focus on selling travel solely through its superapp, having declared Covid was over for the airline. Superapps, popular in Asia, enable users to accomplish a myriad of tasks on one platform instead of having to resort to dozens of apps. AirAsia’s superapp provided food delivery, among other services, during the heart of the pandemic.
Fernandes also said the superapp would focus on delivering the best value for flights across Southeast Asia as well as boosting its ride sharing business.
Next, Turkey was already a popular destination for travelers from Russia, and it looks set to become a business travel hub for Russian corporations displaced after Western sanctions, writes Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Close to 1,400 Russian businesses opened offices in Turkey in 2022, more than any other nation. Parsons writes Russian businesses looking to continue trading view Turkey as a neutral location since it didn’t impose sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. He adds that Russian corporations are in particular to trade with firms banned directly engaging directly with Russia, especially U.S. businesses that set up shop in Turkey after closing their Russian operations.
However, an executive at travel management company BCD Travel warned that high inflation and the weakening Turkish Lira pose significant challenges for the sector’s ongoing recovery in Turkey.
Finally, hotel executives acknowledge that hospitality has become an increasingly stressful industry for staff coming out of the pandemic. So they’re focusing on improving their employees’ mental well-being in an effort to retain workers, Contributor Carley Thornell reports.
Hotel companies like the Turks and Caicos Collection, a group of luxury resorts, are developing strategies to help workers cope with the stress of their work. General Manager Vianel Filpo admitted he can only do so much to help staff dealing with a challenging work environment. So he’s helped arrange face-to-face counseling sessions for employees with a mental health professional, which he said have been enormously popular with staff.
Meanwhile, Crescent Hotels & Resorts, which operates more than 100 properties in the U.S. and Canada, increased mental health offerings via its employment assistance plan. A company executive said it’s seen a strong correlation between employees’ decreased use of antidepressants and the start of additional mental health coverage.
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