Skift Take

This week in digital news, Booking Holdings bought HotelsCombined for a trifling $140 million, MakeMyTrip and Despegar addressed some stumbling blocks, and innovation is top of mind after the GBTA Convention.

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.

>>Don’t you just love those proverbial tuck-in acquisitions? Booking Holdings didn’t break the bank for either HotelsCombined ($140 million) or FareHarbor ($250 million). Sometimes making smaller bets is a much smarter strategy than gargantuan deals, but only time will tell: Booking Holdings Bought HotelsCombined for Only $140 Million

>>Investors are understandably focused on MakeMyTrip’s ongoing operating losses. But in good news, the company is narrowing the size of those losses while maintaining its growth rates: MakeMyTrip Sees Gains From Its Loyalty Programs

>>Lousy economies in key markets have hurt Despegar’s profit. But deft management during the recent storms suggests the online travel agency has a promising future: Despegar Tripped Up by the Ailing Economies of Argentina and Brazil

>>Online player On the Beach is making a play to attract the business of offline travel agents by creating a new online dynamic-packaging portal. Got it? In online travel, as in life, it sometimes pays to be flexible, and to buy stuff: On the Beach Buys Classic Collection for $25 Million as Package Rules Get Upended

>>It’s no surprise that travelers are starting to place a higher priority on customer experience over loyalty programs, considering how uncomfortable air travel has become. Google’s data just prove it: Google Finds Customer Service Beats Loyalty Programs

>>After years of inaction, the big travel management companies are finally figuring out how to create a better booking experience for travelers. The dream of the personalized and automated future of corporate travel, though, may never come to pass: Why Everyone Is Starting to Play Nice in Corporate Travel

>>Corporate travel is working to solve some of the big problems that have prevented change, although it’s hard to really see foundational change taking place across the sector anytime soon: Distribution and Personalization Take Center Stage at Biz Travel Confab

>>Cvent wants to be opportunistic about adding emerging technologies like augmented reality to its broad stable of products for event professionals. For the time being, the focus is on making its products easier to use and reducing the fragmentation that can make life more complicated for its customers: How Cvent Searches for the Event Technology Tipping Point

>>There’s a lot of buzz around emerging technologies like augmented reality and facial recognition. Realistically, though, it’s too early for these things to really catch on, but companies like Cvent want to be ready to deploy new products when and if they do: Inside Cvent’s Technology Strategy

>>Roll up, roll up, roll up! No, that’s not a lyric from a song by either The Struts or Fitz and the Tantrums. That’s instead the call of Blackstone, which bought events tech provider PSAV with a likely plan of creating more roll-up mergers with similar vendors: Blackstone’s Acquisition of Audiovisual Firm Shines a Spotlight on Event Production

>>Travelport has worked hard over the last few years to develop new airline merchandising and travel payments solutions on a global level. Next comes the challenge of driving wider adoption in the marketplace: Video: Why Travelport Is Betting Big on Payments and Mobile Booking

>>There is a striking difference in editorial styles between the two titles, with the U.S. edition hyper-focused on luxury and fashion, and the UK one focused on a broader swath of readers. We’re interested in seeing what will emerge as the singular voice: Condé Nast Traveler Will Combine U.S. and UK Editorial Teams

>>KuaiBangXing, an activities booking startup, focuses on making it easier for Chinese visitors to North America to sample tours and attractions. It sets up guided transportation between outings, and it lets customers pay with China’s popular WeChat Pay system: KuaiBangXing Links Chinese Travelers With Activities: Travel Startup Funding This Week


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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel. Booking Holdings didn't break the bank for either HotelsCombined ($140 million) or FareHarbor ($250 million). Booking Holdings

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