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.

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>>Louis XIII Cognac’s most recent activation is a great example of how luxury brands are aligning with meaningful causes and influencers to appeal to luxury consumers’ growing desire to feel their purchases are part of something bigger than themselves: Luxury Brands Embrace Experiential Marketing to Stay Relevant

>>Regionally focused online travel success stories are as rare as rhinos in the wild these days. But this merger of two South African players may help an endangered species — independent-booking players — keep thriving in a market where so much is dominated by the global duopoly, the Priceline Group and Expedia: Pan-African Booking Player Travelstart Buys SafariNow in Lodging Play

>>The world has moved on from luxury brands simply being able to advertise their products in the traditional sense. They need something bigger to cut through the digital noise: How Experiential Marketing Keeps Brands Relevant — New Luxury

>>Financial analysts and other travel industry watchers often listen to the words of CEOs to hear what direction they’re taking their companies. But, increasingly, CMOs at many major travel brands are dealing with ground-level, consumer-facing marketing and strategy that impact the company and customers on a daily basis: Video: Why CMOs Might Be the Most Influential People at Any Travel Brand

>>Is it just the varied nature of the two advertising platforms, Google’s versus Facebook’s, that makes Google more effective at identifying traveler intent? Some would make that argument. If the travel industry hopes that Facebook will ever supplant Google as an advertising platform, then buckle up for an extended wait: Facebook Wants to Get a Little More Like Google in Identifying Traveler Intent

>>Hailed as a panacea to streamline the bidding process that would make venues and meeting planners more productive, electronic requests for proposals still have a long way to go: Electronic Requests for Proposals Have Created a Mess for Many

>>Expedia penned its second loyalty-enrollment agreement with a hotel chain, but like the previous pact with Red Lion’s parent, the G6 Hospitality deal isn’t any kind of game-changer for Expedia as it tries to soften the effects of the the big chains’ direct-booking campaigns: Expedia Signs Loyalty Program Enrollment Deal With Motel 6 Parent

>>Expedia isn’t done trying to grow; that would be suicide for any public company. Instead, Expedia argues it can best spur growth by digging in deeper in countries where it already operates rather than expanding its map. The new strategy boils down to a question of priorities, and could change again in coming years: Expedia CEO Declares Company’s Global Land Grab Is Nearly Over

>>There’s still plenty of innovation to come to the meetings industry planning process: Digital Tools Aren’t Always Better — Meetings Innovation Report

>>This relatively small deal tells a larger story about the structural reasons why hotels have been behind the curve in digital marketing relative to retail and other sectors: Bidding Platform Koddi Buys a Hotel Ad Tech Division From Criteo

>>Expedia has been talking for a couple of years about being opportunistic when it comes to mergers and acquisitions for its Egencia business travel unit. That may be on the back burner for awhile, though, as the parent company, which has been bogged down in integrating acquisitions over the past couple of years, focuses on growing what it already has: Egencia Is Looking for Scale in Mergers and Acquisitions, Not New Geographies

>>Two startups aiming to help vacation rental property managers, one that helps hoteliers market their neighborhood’s attractions to guests, and one that helps give business travelers cash back on purchases together raised $18 million this week: MyVR Raises $6 Million for Rental Property Software: Travel Startup Funding This Week

Photo Credit: Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom. The company isn't done trying to grow, but is now less focused on expanding its map. Expedia