McDonald’s is partnering with the Mayo Clinic as the global fast-food giant tries to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
  • McDonald’s is partnering with the Mayo Clinic as part of its efforts to keep customers and employees safe during the pandemic.
  • Under the arrangement, the medical center will review the company’s environmental health and safety precautions and some of its global standards.
  • McDonald’s also shared new commitments on diversity and inclusion with its franchisees.

The medical center will offer McDonald’s advice on best practices to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and review the company’s environmental health and safety precautions and some of its global standards. McDonald’s did not disclose financial terms of the partnership, which was announced this week at its virtual Worldwide Connection event for all of its franchisees.

McDonald’s and some of its franchisees face lawsuits from employees related to its response to the pandemic. A Chicago judge, for example, found that McDonald’s had taken steps to mitigate the risk of contracting the virus, but some locations weren’t enforcing mask policies and training on social distancing fell short.

Over time, McDonald’s has implementeddozens of new safety measures, including adding plexiglass partitions inside restaurants and requiring customers and employees to wear masks.

The fast-food chain also shared with its franchisees more on its commitment to diversity and inclusion. It joins a number of companies, from Restaurant Brands International to Microsoft, in addressing those issues in the wake of worldwide protests against police brutality and racism. In June, McDonald’s handed over most of its media time for the BET Awards to Black activists and business owners.

McDonald’s said it will commit to addressing hiring bias and reducing barriers so its leadership becomes more diverse and better resembles the communities it serves. The company plans to enhance its efforts to attract and recruit diverse franchisees and reduce barriers to entry for diverse suppliers.

“We also have to acknowledge that some people in our system feel like they haven’t been given a fair opportunity. We’ve got to face up to that fact and do better,” CEO Chris Kempczinski said in prerecorded remarks to franchisees for the event.

The company also will audit its advertising and restaurant experiences to make sure they “reflect the needs” of all customers.

McDonald’s did not define what characteristics make someone “diverse” or disclose internal diversity numbers. The company said it would share more time-bound commitments in the coming weeks.

McDonald’s plans to have another virtual event in November.


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Jet2 is the best-rated airline in Europe according to TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards. It was also awarded the best economy class in Europe and named Europe’s best low-cost carrier.
The budget airline was also ranked number nine in the world, making it the only UK carrier to secure a place in the top 10.

The only other British airline to get a shout out was Virgin Atlantic, which won the title of Best Major Airline in Europe. Singapore Airlines was named number 1 airline in the world, following its win in last year’s Skytrax awards. Asian carriers dominated the top 10, with Eva Air, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways coming third, fifth and 10th respectively.

The Travellers’ Choice awards are now in their third year, recognising passengers’ favourite airlines overall, plus the top carriers in four distinct service classes: First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy. Other categories include Best Low-Cost Airline, Best Major Airline, Best Mid-Size Airline, Best Regional Airline and Best Regional Business Class. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of airline reviews and ratings submitted by travellers worldwide over a 12-month period on TripAdvisor Flights.

“The awards are living proof that our investment in customer service is working, because they are based on the experiences of paying customers,” said Steve Heapy, CEO of and Jet2holidays. “Our family friendly formula, low fares, brand new aircraft and generous 22kg baggage allowance are a big hit with customers, and all of these great benefits are complemented by our fantastic team who work tirelessly every day to look after each and every customer.

10 best-rated airlines

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. EVA Air
  4. Emirates
  5. Japan Airlines (JAL)
  6. Southwest Airlines
  7. Azul
  8. Air New Zealand
  9. Jet2
  10. ANA (All Nippon Airways)


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Prior to the Covid pandemic, hotel occupancy rates were hitting record highs and average daily rates (ADRs) were rising but last months things have changed. Now the possible exception of restaurants and retail shops, there is no major type of real estate that has been squeezed harder.

What are the top executives in the real estate industry thinking about the next 12 months? A survey of C-suite and other top real estate executives is included in a new report by RCLCO, which I coauthored. Respondents believe that the hospitality sector is approaching or at the bottom with luxury and resort hotels the most commonly believed to be in “full decline” or at “bottom.”

Respondents to the survey said that the hotel industry is currently in “full downturn” or at the “bottom.” The business/luxury hotels and the resorts are the hotel types that are considered to be most clearly at or near the bottom. Participants consider extended stay hotels to be better off, with a larger share in the “late stable” realm. Home sharing/AirBNB/VRBO is considered to be deep into decline or at the bottom but is also heavy in “don’t know” responses, reflecting the uncertain future of this type of real estate.

Looking one year into the future, respondents foresee improvement. The largest number of respondents predict that the hotel business will be in the early stages of recovery within one year. The operative word might be “early stages” as a large share expect business/luxury hotels to still be at the bottom or still in decline.

Full-service hotels are struggling the most in terms of occupancy right now. That is due to the emphasis on amenities on these properties, and the larger congregations of people in those hotels, which raises health concerns among would-be guests. Also, the proliferation of online meetings means that fewer companies feel the need to hold meetings in large hotels. “Companies don’t see as much of a need to pay for an expensive trip to Las Vegas for a meeting” said Lyman Phillips, CEO of Golden Lion, a capital provider in the hospitality sector.

Select-service and limited-service hotels are doing somewhat better in terms of occupancy rates partly because those properties have fewer items that have to be cleaned and fewer points of contact with people. People can check in and go straight to their room without coming into contact with crowds and often can walk outside to their own door which makes social distancing easier.

Hotels are stepping up their efforts to sanitize and to make guests feel safe. “Housekeeping may come by and just drop off soaps and towels outside your door, avoiding unnecessary contact,” said Phillips.

Suffice it to say that the hotels are taking health and cleanliness very seriously now. They are establishing new cleaning protocols, doing all they can to reassure travelers. It will be a lot of work, but they are optimistic that guests will be back.

And people talk about pent-up demand; this time it’s literal. People have been penned (pent) up in their houses and they are yearning to get out and do something fun. Not to mention the birthday trips, weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries that got postponed. When travel becomes safer I’m going to be watching for a rapid increase in hotel business, hopefully from poolside.


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Expedia Group Inc.’s whopping 82% decline in revenue in the second quarter has laid bare the total devastation the coronavirus has wreaked on the travel sector just in a few months. The Seattle-based online travel giant reported total gross bookings of $2.71 billion for the three-month period to June 30, a decline of 90% from the same period a year earlier.

Revenue fell to $566 million — the lowest it’s been in about a decade — and missed Wall Street’s already reduced expectations of $680 million for the quarter. The adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $436 million, missing average analyst estimates of a $288 million loss.

“The second quarter of 2020 represented likely the worst quarter the travel industry has seen in modern history and Expedia was of course not spared,” Chief Execuitve Officer Peter Kern said in a statement. He also said that after hitting a low point in April, the company saw gross bookings improve slightly in May and June as cancellations abated.

Vrbo, Expedia’s vacation rental unit, led that tentative recovery as antsy city dwellers have started exploring the mountains, lakes and national parks within driving distance of their homes. Domestic vacation rentals are the one segment of the travel industry that’s bouncing back, however Kern acknowledged it will be “a bumpy and inconsistent recovery” for the entire sector.

On a conference call with analysts Thursday, executives said Expedia has seen air travel bounce back faster in the U.S. than in Europe, and said domestic vacation rentals will likely lead the recovery.

Expedia had been struggling in the months leading up to the pandemic, as competition ramped up from startups like Airbnb Inc. and the choke-hold on advertising from companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google began to sting. The board ousted the former chief executive late last year and cut 3,000 jobs in February. Kern, then vice chairman, was appointed as the new CEO in April. That same month, Expedia announced it was raising $3.2 billion to withstand Covid-19 impacts. Other rivals were also scrambling to survive: TripAdvisor Inc. and Airbnb each wound up eliminating about a quarter of their workforce, while Booking Holdings Inc. was forced to apply for government aid.

Global coronavirus lockdowns varied in severity and timing, but the pandemic shut down much of the U.S. starting in mid-March, impacting only the tail end of Expedia’s first quarter sales. The second-quarter results represent the first time Expedia has reported the full force of Covid-19 on its bottom line.


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