Travel metasearch websites like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Trivago have long prospered with consumers by offering a simple strategy: combine lots of potential travel options from lots of different websites into a single user interface. But the travel world is changing. New devices like the Amazon Echo and growing use of digital “assistants” like Google Now and Siri are altering how people search.

On top of this, many travel companies are paying closer to attention to where and why they distribute their products online. How should travel brands, and metasearch websites themselves, think about how best to utilize these platforms in the future?

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Investigating the Shifting Landscape of Travel Metasearch
In the past decade, metasearch websites like Kayak, Trivago and SkyScanner have grown from niche products to mainstream travel popularity. But even as they reach wide appeal, metasearch is undergoing a dramatic shift. More airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers are rethinking their chosen distribution channels, and new inputs like voice and mobile apps are changing how consumers search. This profile of UK-based Skyscanner offers a look at the changing nature of metasearch. Read more

Virgin Holidays Tests Live Ads to Cut Through Ad Clutter
As Skift noted earlier this week, Virgin Holidays faces a dilemma. The UK-based travel retailer faces increasing competition combined with flat marketing budgets. In an effort to help cut through the clutter and attract media attention, Virgin is planning to launch a live-streamed ad filmed simultaneously in 18 different locations around the world. Read more

Ten Tips for Improving Hotel Website Design and Usability
Hotels are putting more effort into encouraging customers to direct book on their websites. However, if these hotels’ website experience is in any way confusing or slow, all these efforts will be for nought. Here are some tips on improving website usability to make sure each site visit results in a conversion. Read more

Germans and Spaniards are Airbnb’s Most Enthusiastic Users
Business moves by accommodations-sharing company Airbnb get plenty of attention from the media. But less well understood is how consumers in different markets use the site. How does Airbnb use differ by nationality? Here is some research on Airbnb’s popularity in several of its most popular markets. Read more

Instagram Does Away with Profile Page Photo Maps
Just last week, Skift reviewed the growing importance of location data in the marketing efforts of various travel brands. That’s why this week we were saddened to see Instagram was planning to remove its photo map feature from user profile pages. While this particular feature appears to be seeing relatively little activity among users, the ability to “tag” photos to specific locations isn’t going away any time soon. Read more

How Holiday Inn’s Marketing Director Cuts Through the “Ad Clutter”
Brands both inside and outside the travel industry struggle with creating compelling advertising. The fact is that in today’s media environment it’s tough enough to simply get noticed, let alone convince a customer to take an action. Raul Ortiz, Marketing Director for the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel chains, spoke last week about some his company’s efforts to create more compelling, useful advertising for consumers. Read more

Photo Credit: Changes in how consumers search and how travel brands distribute their products will have important consequences for travel metasearch sites. Skift