This week we’re talking about digital payments.

Even while Apple Pay and Google Wallet get most of the headlines, a behind-the-scenes battle is emerging in the travel industry and elsewhere over the companies that control travelers’ ability to purchase with digital devices. With a treasure trove of customer data, and market power at stake, expect more travel companies to rethink how and why they let customers pay for their travel purchases. For all of this week’s news, read on below.

Why The Wallet is Digital Marketing’s Next Big Platform
Although travel innovation news tends to focus on topics like messaging apps and virtual reality, perhaps the biggest trend for travel marketers to be thinking about is the digital wallet. Travelers share tremendous amounts of personal information with the companies that control or store their payment data. In fact, many marketing experts predict the companies that control these digital payment systems will play a critical role in how and where we choose to spend in the future. Read more

Southwest Executive Emphasizes Importance of “Trust” as a Key Marketing Tool
A recent talk by Anne Murray, senior director of marketing communications for Southwest Airlines, played up the importance of customer service and business practices as among a travel marketer’s most important tactics. This is particularly true as ad blocking and social media make it increasingly dififcult for consumers to receive traditional marketing messages. Read more

2016 Travel Spending on the Fourth of July Expected to Surpass Black Friday
It’s a well-known fact that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest days of the year for retailers. But what about for travel marketers? What key spending events have the biggest impact on their bottom line? According to new research, the answer is the July 4th holiday weekend. Recent estimates suggest U.S. travelers will spend more than $3.22 billion on travel for the holiday this year, compared to $3.07 billion on Cyber Monday and $2.74 billion on Black Friday. Read more

United Airlines Explains Why Innovation Doesn’t Always Work
More airlines are experimenting with innovation labs to improve business efficiency and the passenger experience. But according to some aviation players like United Airlines, too much focus on innovation can be a distraction rather than a benefit. United CMO Tom O’Toole told attendees at a recent startup conference that the company’s massive scale can make it difficult to deploy new innovations, and that the company has to make customer experience its core focus first. Read more

The importance of Google Location Ads for Hotel Marketers
Location plays a critical role in how many travelers shop for hotels, a fact that hasn’t been lost on Google, whose popular AdWords platform offers a range of location-based ad tools. In fact, due to a recent Google algorithm update, it’s become more important than ever that hotel marketers take advantage of these location-focused AdWords tools. Read more

Starwood Names New Creative Agency of Record for Westin and Sheraton
Starwood Hotels announced last week that Venables Bell & Partners would take over creative agency of record duties for the Westin and Sheraton brands. The agency’s recent work on outdoor retailer REI’s anti-Black Friday campaign was a key factor in Starwood’s decision, hotel chain executives said. Read more

Photo Credit: A battle is brewing between the companies and payment providers that power digital commerce for travel brands. Tax Credits / Flickr