Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, February 7, in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast discusses the new CEO of Hertz, a new booking strategy for business travelers, and positive news for hotel labor.
Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.
Hertz has made a major hire. The car rental giant appointed longtime Goldman Sachs executive Stephen Scherr on Friday to be its new CEO, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Scherr will assume the role on February 28, joining Hertz after a 30-year run at Goldman Sachs, including serving as its chief financial officer until December 31. He was also a co-chair of then-New York City’s Mayor Elect Eric Adams transition team. Scherr will replace Mark Fields, who had been Hertz’s interim CEO for the past four months.
The appointment comes several months after Hertz emerged from bankruptcy. One of Scherr’s major responsibilities at the company will be to help provide an enhanced digital experience for customers. During his time at Goldman Sachs, he played a significant role in establishing the digital consumer bank Marcus.
Next, as corporate travel continues its recovery, companies are increasingly finding that the process for booking trips has gotten more complicated. So travel technology company Travelport is turning its corporate travel agency customers to a platform that it believes will simplify bookings, writes Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.
Travelport unveiled Travel+ last April, and two of its clients — Fox World Travel and Christopherson Business Travel — are among the latest agencies to switch over to the platform. A Travelport executive told Skift that it has moved more than 80 percent of its customers to the upgraded Travel+, which the company believes will enable corporate travel agencies to more easily connect with airlines and other suppliers through one data-driven distribution channel.
Finally, the U.S. hotel industry has good news to report. The sector recorded strong job growth numbers last month despite expectations Omicron would put a dent in hiring gains, writes Hospitality Reporter Cameron Sperance.
The accommodation sector added 23,000 jobs in December after several months of meager job growth, according to the overall U.S. jobs report released on Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. added 467,000 jobs last month, which exceeded most economist expectations. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes restaurants, provided January’s biggest job gains. The sector added 151,000 jobs, with 108,000 of those positions tied to bars and restaurants.
However, overall leisure and hospitality employment is still down roughly 10 percent from pre-pandemic figures, signifying a labor shortage several months prior to the busy summer travel season. Despite the hotel industry currently reporting a 8 percent unemployment rate — an enormous decrease from the 50 percent figure seen earlier in the Covid era — many analysts believe that’s the result of the workforce giving up on hotel jobs instead of most positions in the sector being filled.