Four Seasons sees a future in tents

Skift grip

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast delves into exclusive new Four Seasons retreats, an imaginary Marriott-Disney merger and Yatra’s IPO planning.

Rashaad Jordan

Hello from Skift. Today is Thursday, December 1. Here’s what you need to know about the travel industry today.

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Episode Notes

The Four Seasons opens Naviva, its first luxury tent resort in the Americas, Thursday, but it eschews conventional hotel design in the process. The Punta Mita, Mexico-based property emphasizes incorporating outdoor elements, contributor Carley Thornell reports in Skift’s Future of Hotel Design feature.

Thornell writes Naviva, which comprises 15 units, strives to immerse guests in 48 acres of greenery overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Each of these units has a plunge pool and an expansive terrace with an outdoor shower. Naviva was designed by Luxury Frontiers, which, according to Four Seasons Regional Vice President John O’Sullivan, is extremely environmentally friendly. O’Sullivan said Naviva’s tents are all private retreats, but its other areas are designed for more communal experiences, which is different from many luxury hotel brands.

Then Marriott became the largest hotel company in the world, but how did its fortunes, and that of the business world in general, would have been different if he had bought Disney in the 1980s? Ronald Grover, adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, explores this topic in a guest column for Skift.

Marriott had the opportunity to join businessman Saul Steinberg’s $1.4 billion bid for a majority stake in a struggling Disney in 1984, but decided against it. Grover writes that if Marriott had joined that deal and succeeded in buying Disney, Marriott and Disney might look very different than they do today. He notes that Marriott could have had Disney-owned 28,000 acres in Florida to build gleaming new hotels.

Grover adds that Marriott’s takeover of Disney would have changed the trajectory of some of the biggest players in media and entertainment. He writes that without theme parks and real estate, Disney is unlikely to have convinced Michael Eisner to stay on as CEO. Eisner is widely credited with reviving the company’s fortunes.

To finish, India-based online travel agency Yatra plans to launch its domestic IPO by March next year. The company believes that the IPO in India will allow it to boost its business, reports Peden Doma Bhutia, Asia Editor.

Yatra, which has been listed on Nasdaq in New York since December 2016, said the Indian listing would better enable it to seek alliances with partners who may be uncomfortable with its overseas structure. Yatra can go public at any time over the next 12 months after receiving approval from Indian authorities earlier this month.

Co-founder and CEO Dhruv Shringi said on an earnings call this week that Yatra had set aside capital for mergers and acquisitions as part of the initial public offering. Shringi also noted that Yatra has been boosted by extremely high travel demand in the country, especially in the leisure sector. Additionally, business travel gross bookings for Yatra reached 100% of pre-Covid levels in the second quarter of the fiscal year.

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