This week in digital news, travel brands across many sectors thought about the long game at Skift Tech Forum. How can companies balance personalization and privacy? What kind of threat do Google and Amazon present? And how big is the gap between the tech haves and have-nots?
Digital Travel News Weekly Roundup
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.
>>What do Amazon’s Alexa, personalization, and the tech arms race have in common? They were common refrains overheard this week at our inaugural Skift Tech Forum in Silicon Valley: 4 Key Insights on Travel Tech Advances, Personalization, Voice, and Amazon
>>Smart hotel brands like AccorHotels know that the real threat isn’t Airbnb or even their fellow hotel companies. It’s the Googles, Tencents, Facebooks, Amazons, and Apples of the world: AccorHotels Chief Brand Officer: ‘We Need to Watch Google and Amazon Carefully’
>>For all of the hype over its shopping spree of acquisitions in recent years, Expedia didn’t have much to show for it compared to rival Booking Holdings. That’s starting to change, and Expedia feels it’s ready for a cloud-based future: Expedia Is Closing Gap With Booking on Cloud-Based and Search Engine Tech
>>The global distribution systems are each pushing forward in their own unique way. By investing like technology companies in flexible distribution and payment technologies, they hope to provide a better value proposition to travel partners that are keen to cut out the middleman. Decades of bad blood between the two, however, still linger over the conversation: Global Distribution Systems Retool for the Next Digital Revolution
>>There are limits to how much an airline like United knows about you and that is comforting to some travelers. But putting the data it does have to good use remains a challenge, although we see nothing controversial about wishing someone a happy birthday: United Plans New App But Is Weighing ‘Creepy’ Versus ‘Personalized’
>>Online travel’s two most influential female executives, Ctrip’s Jane Jie Sun and Booking.com’s Gillian Tans, will now deliberate around the table together at Ctrip board meetings. Ctrip felt the need to announce that the two companies are strengthening their ties after Booking’s 2017 investment in Ctrip rival and IPO-bound Meituan-Dianping: Booking CEO Gillian Tans Gets a Ctrip Board Seat
>>Everybody wants a piece of the tours and activities sector, but how easy is it going to be to migrate all those businesses that currently operate offline to online? Tours and Activities Sector Still Faces Challenge of Moving Bookings Online
>>Hyper-personalization may be all the rage, but so is respecting the customer’s data. Hilton wants to be on the right side of that fine line: Hilton Is Wary of the Risks of Hyper-Personalization
>>The global distribution systems are finally moving away from the antiquated legacy systems that frustrate travel providers. Will their new cloud-based systems usher in a new era for corporate travel, or help maintain the status quo? How the Global Distribution Systems Are Fighting for Change
>>Public campgrounds were already an alternative form of travel. But now there’s “alternative alternative travel.” Meet the startup Hipcamp, which is like an Airbnb for privately owned campsites and hosted experiences: Hipcamp Raises $9.5 Million for Campsite Booking: Travel Startup Funding This Week
Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch
Photo credit: Sessions at the inaugural Skift Tech Forum covered the pitfalls of digital personalization. Skift