Azul Wants to Deepen JetBlue Ties

Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at Azul’s relationship with JetBlue, New Orleans’ new tourism strategy, and a music-themed boutique hotel.

Good morning from Skift. It’s Monday, November 14. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Brazilian airline Azul could forge an even deeper relationship with partner JetBlue Airways, a company it has a codeshare with. Azul is looking to establish a loyalty partnership with the New York-based carrier, reports Jay Shabat, senior analyst at Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Azul Chief Revenue Officer Abhi Shah expressed optimism during its recent third-quarter earnings call that it can launch a frequent flier loyalty partnership with JetBlue. Both airlines were founded by entrepreneur David Neeleman. Shah added that Azul envisions getting a boost from JetBlue’s pending merger with Spirit Airlines. Azul currently only serves two U.S. destinations — Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, both of which are major markets for Spirit and JetBlue.

But Shabat notes United Airlines could complicate Azul’s efforts to deepen ties with JetBlue. United is an Azul shareholder and once limited Azul’s ability to work with other airlines. However, United’s original commercial contract with the Brazilian carrier has expired.

We head to New Orleans next. Its incoming tourism chief Walter Leger III, envisions the city, still recovering from the pandemic, embracing emerging forms of technology and a new marketing strategy in its quest to attract more international visitors, writes Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam.

Leger, a former state lawmaker who will become president and CEO of New Orleans & Company on January 1, said in an interview with Skift that the organization’s creative teams are working on generating fresh content regularly instead of simply developing a commercial to appear on TV. He cited Plus One, a recent tourism campaign featuring locals conversing over dinner, as one of its most prominent efforts. Leger said filming the campaign in virtual reality enables New Orleans to highlight innovation happening in the city.

Leger added that New Orleans aims to market the city more directly to prospective overseas visitors. That’s in contrast to its previous strategy of focusing on locations where the organization believed it could have had the largest return on investment. He expressed confidence New Orleans could effectively promote itself using influencers on social media.

We wrap today looking at an independent boutique hotel finding ways to distinguish itself from larger, wealthier competitors. The Jams Music Hotel in Munich is using rock and roll to appeal to travelers, reports Contributor Leslie Barrie.

Jams’ founder Alexander Kaufmann said everything in the hotel is linked to music, including lamps on the staircase that resemble records. Visitors can also borrow albums to play on their guest room’s own record player, which Kaufman believes helps establish a connection with guests. He added that Jams having a music-themed interior different from that in chain music hotels helps with grass-roots marketing.

However, Kaufmann acknowledges that Jams has to overcome hurdles that big chains don’t. Jams is focused on establishing relationships with online travel agencies, but he admitted their suggestions aren’t often in the best interest of an independent boutique hotel. Barrie writes a small boutique hotel needs to stay in online travel agencies’ good graces with properties like Jams heavily reliant on them. In addition, financing is a major concern for Jams, especially facing the prospect of a recession.

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