Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines digital trends.
For all of our weekend roundups, go here.
>>Expedia Inc. seems ready to further develop existing brands like HomeAway in 2018. An opportunistic acquisition or two might also take place, but CEO Okerstrom says he’s focusing on organic growth from companies already in Expedia’s portfolio: Video: Expedia CEO on Blockchain and Competitive Threats
>>Upside is trying to reach a more high-yielding audience of business travelers through its partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Whether the Upside experience ends up resonating with its users over the long term is another story: Wall Street Journal Launches Online Travel Site Powered by Upside
>>Most companies still give their business travelers corporate cards or ask them to pay upfront for later reimbursement. Given the rapid development of mobile and virtual payment methods for consumers, corporate travel is lagging behind yet again: Business Travelers Rarely Use Virtual Payments In Another Sign of Companies’ Slow Adoption
>>No other current online travel company CEO is as outspoken as TripAdvisor’s Stephen Kaufer about the the global refugee crisis and U.S. visitor policies. We wish more executives would step up and speak out: Video: TripAdvisor CEO Believes Company’s Performance Is On Track
>>Social profiles and websites are the new shop window. Luxury brands can no longer afford to see their digital presences fall so far behind the quality of their products and services: Luxury Travel Brands Can’t Afford to Be So Far Behind in Digital Engagement
>>Investors liked Sabre’s third quarter revenue and profit report. But the verdict is still out on whether the company is relying on cheap fixes like layoffs to hit its targets or if it is laying the groundwork for sustainable growth: Sabre Stays Profitable After Layoffs as the Company Vows to Become Nimbler
>>It’s not something a lot of people want to think about, but with large gatherings increasingly becoming a target for violent attacks, meeting and event planners have to step up their security tools and protocols: Can Technology Make Meetings and Events Safer?
>>Ctrip-backed Skyscanner will tap in-destination content from social reviews company Trip.com. But is the acquiring company’s true plan to further mobile engagement? Or is it to nab a domain name that may be appeal more to Americans than Ctrip.com — or Alibaba’s Fliggy? Ctrip Buys Trip.com for Skyscanner to Enhance Local Recommendations
>>The online travel market in India is ripe with opportunity. But competition is brutal. In response, MakeMyTrip has recently debuted loyalty programs and technological upgrades to entice well-heeled customers to choose it over the discounters: MakeMyTrip Takes Steps to Escape Becoming a Price-War Casualty
>>Ctrip, along with its partially owned sister brand Qunar, dominates Chinese online travel sales, but it has begun to lean heavily on its recently acquired flight search company, Skyscanner, to boost overseas sales: Skyscanner Is Propelling Ctrip’s International Growth
>>Can technology make meetings and events safer? The answer is yes, but there’s far more we can — and should — be doing as well to ensure everyone’s safety, from stricter gun laws to improved hospitality training: Using Technology to Make Events Safer — Meetings Innovation Report
>>Travelzoo is a curious case. A newsletter-focused daily deals site that has given up on becoming a global metasearch site, it has clearly had trouble adapting to a marketplace where deals abound. Has a new focus on what its customers actually want come too late? Travelzoo Is Having Trouble Figuring Out Life After Metasearch
>>Under current CEO Dana Dunne, eDreams Odigeo has been going through something of a turnaround, swapping years of losses for profit. At this stage we don’t know the identity of the potential buyer(s) or what they want to do with the business: eDreams Odigeo to Explore Sale After Attracting Interest From Potential Investors
>>Whoever said there’s no money in tours-and-activities may want to have a chat with the folks at Battery Ventures, whose investment in GetYourGuide brings that startup’s total funding to $175.5 million: Tours and Activities Site GetYourGuide Secures a $75 Million Funding Round
>>As its pace of revenue growth slows, travel-tech player Travelport needs to diversify beyond distributing airline tickets. Rental cars are one bright spot. It is gaining traction thanks to a new deal with Hertz: Travelport Signs Deal to Get Hertz’s Prepaid Car-Rental Rates for the First Time
>>The moneyed set looked East this week as China had its second travel unicorn, Xiaozhu, receive a billion-dollar valuation, following in the footsteps of its rival, Tujia, China’s first travel unicorn. Meanwhile, Ctrip bought Trip.com: Airbnb Rival Xiaozhu Raises $120 Million: Travel Startup Funding This Week