Happy New Year, etc.

In case you missed it during your well-deserved and refreshing holiday break, Flight Centre made a move in Silicon Valley. Australian agencies see the U.S. as a massive growth opportunity, particularly in corporate travel.

We’ve also got economic predictions for 2019 from the Skift Research team and our boldest predictions for travel in the new year. Check out all our coverage below.

Consider this your 2019 corporate travel starter pack. I have my first business trip of the year next week, to PCMA Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh; if you’re going to be there, let me know if you want to meet up.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at as@skift.com or tweet me @sheivach

— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor

Airlines, Hotels and Innovation

Flight Centre Expands in U.S. With Silicon Valley Acquisition: Flight Centre’s latest North American acquisition looks like a win-win. Casto Travel gets access to the group’s technology, buying power, and marketing reach while the Australian-headquartered travel group expands its footprint in Silicon Valley.

Hotels Finally Embrace Homesharing: Now What? Just as challenging as it is for Airbnb to offer more hotel-like options, it seems in some ways even more daunting for hotel companies to start offering more Airbnb-like accommodations.

Expect Solid Year of Growth for Travel in 2019: Our latest Skift Research report provides a look back on 2018 and details our 2019 economic expectations for the U.S. and globally. All in all, we expect a solid year of economic growth in 2019, which should translate well for the travel industry.

Bold Predictions for the Travel Industry in 2019: Lately the improbable keeps happening. Exhibit A: Donald Trump. So we’ve ventured some bold forecasts on everything from cruise ship dining to the acquisition plans of Airbnb, Oyo, Microsoft, and Sabre.

Hotels Struggle to Stop Resellers From Undercutting Their Rates: Consumers often wonder where they can find the lowest rate for a hotel room online. Oddly enough, a hotel’s managers may not know the answer. Mysteriously discounted rates from small sites and apps are popping up more often online, even in markets like the U.S. where a few hotel groups dominate.

The Future of Travel

Germany Makes Strides to Become ‘Europe’s Silicon Valley’ for Travel Startups: Germany’s travel startup scene used to be barely breathing. But with the fundings of HomeToGo, GoEuro, and Tourlane this year, the country’s day in the sun has arrived thanks to a few factors, including more funding, bolder thinking, and better mentorship.

New Safety Concerns Present Complicated Challenge for Event Organizers: Agencies and venues have stepped up to the plate to meet rising safety and security concerns among meetings organizers. The challenge is to fulfill duty of care obligations without impacting the delegate experience.

The Travel Buzzwords Skift Loves to Hate: We’re not mad, but we are tired of buzzwords being used by travel companies to obscure what is really going on, which tends to be either a strategic erosion of quality for consumers, or a slow process of change to become more competitive in a certain marketplace.

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Skift Senior Editor Andrew Sheivachman [as@skift.com] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Photo Credit: An Easyjet plane lit up with holiday lights. TaylorHerring / Flickr