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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.
>>Nearly a billion people around the world will tune in to watch someone else play a video game this year. Digital events have become ingrained into the culture of millennials and Gen Z, and the sector is rapidly learning how to combine virtual entertainment with engaging real-life experiences. Event professionals need to pay attention to this evolution: Meeting Planners Need to Get Game for Esports
>>Airbnb always gives us plenty to talk about — and this episode of the Skift Podcast features a lively conversation about the many ways the homesharing company is venturing beyond its original focus and disrupting wide swaths of the travel industry: Skift Podcast: The Airbnb Threat to Hotels and Booking Sites
>>Hotels.com, Egencia, Trivago, and HomeAway, among others, are all Expedia companies. The parent company wants Wall Street to understand that it is more than just the Expedia brand. The Priceline Group had long been associated with Priceline.com even though Booking.com is the company’s largest brand. So there seemed to be more of a reason for Priceline’s name switch than for Expedia’s: Expedia Tweaks Name After Priceline Rebrand
>>Booking Holdings is still making considerable money from Priceline.com’s bidding service for hotels. But the service has outlived its usefulness, and will likely fold within a year or two. Take a look at how Priceline.com markets other ways to book hotels on its site. Enough said: The Death of Priceline’s Name Your Own Price Is Likely Drawing Near
>>Even consumers who embrace technology may worry that companies are exploiting them through so-called personalization. Hoteliers need to balance digital ingenuity with a human touch: The Evolution of the Hotel Front Desk: Why Tech Can Only Go So Far
>>Figuring out where to hold a small meeting is becoming more like booking a flight or hotel online. As more of the giant hotel chains buy into this model, there is the potential for the wider distribution marketplace for meetings space to shift significantly: Online Booking Finally Becomes Reality for Meeting Planners
>>The last thing travel tech giant Travelport needs is to be sold to private equity. It’s still digging out from all the debt Blackstone saddled it with. Our best guess is that it will be forced to partly sell eNett, a payments business: Travelport Faces Dramatic Changes if Activist Investor Gets His Way
>>Beyond automatically integrating travel booking with expenses, a lot is being done to give travel managers and financial departments more powerful tools to track spending. It also helps that these tools will eventually make the expense report process much easier for travelers: Expense Technology Gets Smarter as Providers Look Beyond Receipts
>>Kudos to TripAdvisor and Expedia for doing the right thing in helping encourage civil discourse. Whatever one thinks about the gun policy debate, picking on a teenager’s personal musings about college applications unrelated to the topic at hand is out of bounds: TripAdvisor and Expedia Pull TV Ads in Boycott of Laura Ingraham’s Fox Show
>>Smarter technology is making it easier for companies to track what employees actually spend on travel. This is good news for travelers as well, since travel managers and accountants will have better insights into what policy mechanics actually save the company money without ruining the business travel experience: Looking at the Future of Expense Reports
>>As winter gives way to spring, at least in the northern hemisphere, startups raised more than $24 million to expand online travel booking and planning in the Middle East and Europe. Just in time for consumers planning summer trips: Dubai Agency HolidayMe Raises $12 Million: Travel Startup Funding This Week