This week in digital news, we released a major undertaking: the oral history of the Booking.com acquisition. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of online travel.
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.
>>This is the oral history of Priceline’s two deals, the acquisitions of Active Hotels and Bookings B.V., that created Booking.com, and continue to shape the course of online travel and the competitive landscape today. The twin transactions were among the greatest Internet deals of all time, and their lessons are relevant to startups and dealmakers in any industry: Launching The Oral History of Travel’s Greatest Acquisition Booking.com
>>The stars were seemingly aligned when Booking.com made its move. The big U.S. players were too comfortable with their huge margins from the merchant model; Booking.com focused on independent hotels; and search engine marketing was on the rise. Still, it was the entrepreneurs and dealmakers who made it all happen: 6 Takeaways From The Oral History of Travel’s Greatest Acquisition Booking.com
>>Booking.com is Booking Holdings’ favored child, but with the addition of HotelsCombined, it is apparent that the parent company still sees plenty of opportunity for its Kayak unit in metasearch worldwide. This deal will help Kayak expand in Asia Pacific, and will give HotelsCombined additional resources as well: Booking Holdings Buys HotelsCombined as Kayak Expands Into Asia Pacific
>>The deal surprised analysts, some of whom didn’t see an obvious logic for it. Yet one thing is sure: Online hotel sales are a bit like an old-fashioned butter market. A big chunk of butter changes hands multiple times and everyone gets their hands greasy: Analysts Are Puzzled Why Booking Holdings Acquired HotelsCombined
>>The big global travel management companies have pivoted to become more like technology companies in recent years. Despite the usual bromides about innovation and user experience, they’re unlikely to invest in voice-powered automation right now. Personalization needs to come first: Amazon’s Alexa for Business Travel Doesn’t Compute Right Now
>>While Europe’s new data regulations may only apply to one continent, they’re expected to form the blueprint for similar legislation in other countries. Travel managers everywhere should get used to them: Travel Managers Should Get Used to Data Privacy Restrictions
>>Journera aims to act like a magnet attracting relevant information across company databases about a traveler’s complete trip. It would help, say, a hotel learn when a high-status customer’s flight has been delayed. While the idea is great in theory, it may prove elusive in practice: Airline, Hotel, and Silicon Valley Heavyweights Back Startup Aiming to Fix Travel Data Hurdle
>>As Amazon pushes into hospitality, a battle will take place over who owns the business traveler’s wallet. Travel managers will have to deal with Amazon and hotel loyalty programs pushing travelers to spend more on their platforms. Ubiquitous voice-powered travel booking, though, remains a distant reality: Amazon and the Future of Business Travel
>>Investors have bet big on luxury experiences, with investments in Headout, which offers last-minute activities; Key Concierge, which does something similar for luxury rental properties; My Daydream, which offers customized upscale tours; and Seatfrog, which offers last-minute upgrades: Headout Raises $10 Million for Activities Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week
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Photo credit: Priceline's two deals, the acquisitions of Active Hotels and Bookings B.V., created Booking.com and continue to shape the course of online travel. Booking Holdings