Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, May 27, 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 what digital nomads need from Airbnb, why Oyo hit pause on its IPO, and how Sri Lanka’s departing tourism chief criticized the country’s tourism power structure.
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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky touted the company’s recent expansion of search categories on its platform as its “biggest change in a decade.” But many digital nomads believe Airbnb still hasn’t addressed their biggest needs, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work Briefing.
Parsons writes Airbnb, despite creating 56 categories, failed to provide search filters for “Verified Fast Wi-Fi” and a genuine workspace. Leah Ziliak, a consultant who advises hospitality brands, said that finding out the Wi-Fi quality at properties listed on the platform can be difficult for users, in a large part because many listings don’t contain information about Wi-Fi speed.
Ziliak added while users can see if a property has a dedicated workspace in the amenities section of a listing, prospective guests still don’t know what that workspace entails. Ziliak said it could be a stool with a tiny table or a chair at a desk.
Next, India-based budget hotel operator Oyo has delayed its longtime plans to go public due to concerns about a subpar valuation. But the company still aims to make its stock market debut, which could take place in late 2022, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.
Schaal writes that factors such as the volatility of global stock markets, a bevy of lackluster initial public offerings in India and a delayed travel recovery by the onset of Omicron contributed to Oyo’s decision to delay going public. Oyo decided to shelve the IPO — for which it first proposed a $10 billion to $12 billion valuation — after discussions with its bankers, according to a published report. Oyo filed its IPO paperwork with India regulators in late September 2021 but it has been in limbo ever since.
But the company has requested permission from the Securities and Exchange Board of India to update its IPO prospectus with newer financial results. The board is expected to approve Oyo’s request to update its prospectus within the next two weeks, after which it would spend several months deciding whether to approve or reject the prospectus. Oyo would then have one year after regulatory approval to debut on the stock market.
We finish today in Sri Lanka. The country’s tourism chief resigned earlier this week under pressure from its newly-appointed tourism minister, but not before blasting the Sri Lankan tourism industry, writes Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.
Kimarli Fernando, who stepped down as Sri Lanka’s tourism chairperson, hit out, in a strongly worded letter, at what she called a cartel of industry veterans. Fernando said in the letter that Sri Lankan tourism executives didn’t like her attempt to account for the country’s tourism revenue as well as her push to direct money to hotels with foreign currency loans. She also criticized major tourism organizations for being against the shift to digital marketing, arguing that going back to outdated methods of marketing would hamper the island’s competitiveness in the world tourism market.