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.
>>Online travel agencies have been vehemently opposed to detailing the components of the taxes and fees they collect on prepaid hotel bookings because it would expose the wholesale rates they obtain from hotels and the markups that the booking sites impose. This lawsuit could potentially impose changes in Expedia’s financial relationship with its affiliates: Expedia Faces Traveler Fee Lawsuit Alleging Tax Fraud and Racketeering
>>This past year served up headlines that certainly didn’t end with the start of another news cycle. The ripple effects were felt across all of travel. Follow the trends of the moments that we have pointed out here — and be prepared to ride their waves well into 2019 and beyond: 25 Travel Moments That Mattered in 2018
>>Ctrip has been able to spend most of its 15-year history riding a rising travel tide in China while buying out much of the competition to blunt their challenges. For 2019, Ctrip will have to stand up and get moving to recapture momentum and investor attention: Ctrip Chairman Shrugs Off Impact of Trump Tariff Dispute — For Now
>>Booking.com has been making strides in the U.S. market for several years, but the challenges are formidable. Expedia is outspending Booking.com on U.S. TV, and then there is Airbnb to throw into the equation: Booking Holdings Faces a Hotel Chain Challenge in U.S. Competition With Expedia
>>Google Assistant will soon start sending flight-delay notifications on mobile, and informing travelers about the reasons behind the disruption to their itineraries. This could be a really great service, and Google will do it at scale. Rest assured that an automated flight-rebooking service won’t be too far behind: Google Is Filling In the Missing Pieces With Mobile Flight-Delay Notifications
>>In Asia-Pacific, planners are more concerned about facilitating new technological advances than bringing local experiences to attendees: Interactive Technology Becomes Focus of Asia-Pacific Event Planners
>>Planners in different regions have differing takes on what’s going to be most important to their clients in upcoming years. It’ll be interesting to see how the event experience evolves around the world going forward: Interactive Technology for Events Becomes Greater Priority
>>Some travelers take advantage of behavioral rewards, and others don’t. The bigger picture shows, however, that the promise of a reward for making a particular travel booking decision is a good way to get buy-in from business travelers and give them something to look forward to after their trip: Behavioral Rewards Find Niche in Corporate Travel
>>Behavioral rewards still aren’t super mainstream in corporate travel. But as companies choose the carrot instead of the stick when it comes to influencing travelers, more organizations are experimenting with it: Rewarding Smart Booking Choices to Go Mainstream
>>This week’s travel startup funding announcements included bets on the popular themes of vacation rentals, co-living, corporate and business travel, and expense management: AvantStay Raises $5 Million for Short-Term Rentals: Travel Startup Funding This Week