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Amazon has begun shipping cargo for outside customers to compete with UPS and FedEx.
American Shipper
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According to a CNBC report on Monday (Sept. 6), Amazon’s first quarter earnings show an 80% rise in capital expitures, which helped it boost the capacity of its logistic network by 50% from year to year. The retail giant is now shipping 72% of its own goods, compared to 46.6% two years ago, with a global transportation network that includes 400,000 drivers, 40,000 trucks, 30,000 vans and over 70 planes.

“They want to be a new kind of U.S. Postal Service, where everything can get everywhere, but also quickly,” eCommerce consultant Chris McCabe, who was a seller performance investigator at Amazon from 2006 to 2012, told CNBC.

In August, the company ed its $1.5 billion Amazon Air Hub in Kentucky. Around the same time, Amazon announced it was expanding its same-day delivery service to six new cities: Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Tampa.

In June, the UPS has said it would explore a same-day delivery option, but so far it appears to just be a pilot project.

Outside merchants already enjoy some shipping services from Amazon, such as the “logistics as a service” program the company operates in the U.K., which researchers at DePaul University predict will launch in the U.S. in the next 18 months.

But while the company has begun moving cargo for the U.S. Postal Service, one researcher says Amazon won’t try to replicate all the services offered by UPS and FedEx.

“They’re not going to be just this blanket carrier that will deliver whatever package that you want them to, to whatever address,” Dan Romanoff, who analyzes Amazon for Morningstar, told CNBC. “Amazon is sort of cherry-picking their routes. They want to run and sort the parcel sizes they want to deliver.”

A new surge in cases of COVID-19 is leading businesses to rethink employee travel this fall.
As Bloomberg News reported on Monday (Sept. 6), airlines and hotels were counting on the typically depable revenue source of business travel to bounce back in the next few months. But the spread of the COVID delta variant is causing those hopes to fade.
“I’d say it’s a pause, as compared to continued growth. That said, we understand why it’s paused,” Delta Air Lines Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian told Bloomberg.

His airline said corporate travel in the U.S. was back to about 40% of its pre-pandemic levels during the summer. Delta had predicted it would reach 60% this month, a prediction the company has since abandoned.

A recent survey by Morning Consult for the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that more than half of the 400 travelers interviewed said they would postpone their coming trips.

Bloomberg also interviewed Clarke Smith, who provides training for tech businesses and was set to take his first work trip in August. “Right about the time I started to get a little bit nervous is when they called and said, ‘Let’s pull the plug on this,’ ” he said.

Most of the companies Smith works with have put off going back to the office, following the lead of Apple and Google. Smith plans to work virtually for the remainder of 2021.

While business travel might be less robust than anticipated this fall, the tr of people traveling for pleasure doesn’t seem to be as affected.

Marriott says it is engaged in a “fight for talent” as it struggles to fill a 10,000-person staff shortage at its U.S. hotels amid a resurgence in bookings.

In an interview Monday (Sept. 6) with the Financial Times, Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said redundancies during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic had left workers “rattled” about the future of the travel/tourism industry, leading to sharp s in staffing levels.

“We’ve got to do a consistent job of sharing the narrative that it is in fact an industry segment where incredible careers can be built,” Capuano said. “The ability to tell that story around the globe is more important in the face of this fight for talent than it has ever been.”

Marriott is the world’s largest hotel company, and is facing about 10,000 staffing vacancies at the 600 hotels it manages in the United States, a challenge that Capuano says is “particularly acute in states like Florida, which bounced back quickly due to rising demand for resort vacations.

Also rising in Florida? COVID-19 infections, which surged in July and August, with the state seeing an average of 20,900 new cases per day by the of last month.

The evolving nature of the pandemic hasn’t stopped travel this year the way it did last summer. As PYMNTS reported last week, AAA Travel bookings were up at least 11% over levels from two years ago.

Earlier this year, the American Hotel & Lodging Association reported that hotel occupancy for 2021 was expected to average 55.9%, slightly higher than earlier projections of 52.5%. That would be up from 44% in 2020 but still below the average year-round hotel occupancy of 66% in 2019. The association expects occupancy rates to rebound to 61.7% next year.
And while the hotel industry had its best month ever as far as revenues and room rates in July, hotels and restaurants have had to cut hours and services, with as much as 20% of hospitality staff worldwide seeking new jobs less subject to lockdown volatility.

Marriott, which operates more than 7,300 hotels around the world, furloughed tens of thousands of workers and reduced its corporate headcount by 17% last September. Now, the company is “actively and aggressively hiring,” Capuano said, focusing on markets where demand has recovered and offering new incentives and benefits.

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