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.
>>Surprising factors have delayed the coronation of MakeMyTrip Group as India’s queen of domestic online travel. Paytm came out of nowhere to grab share, Oyo upended budget hotel distribution, Ixigo tried to make price comparison chic, and Booking.com outmaneuvered Expedia for premium hotel bookings. From this scrappy mix, online travel will find new lessons: What India Reveals About the Future of Online Travel: A Skift Deep Dive
>>This tuck-in deal is minuscule, but it underscores Yatra’s drive to maintain its position as India’s largest online provider of travel booking tools for corporations. Yatra has the potential to build an “Egencia for India” over the course of five or 10 years: Yatra Buys PL Worldways in India-Focused Corporate Travel Push
>>There have been several new technologies, from the New Distribution Capability to direct-connect and blockchain, that have at times shown promise in easing the grip of the global distribution systems. For the last 20 years, the incumbent distributors have always managed to exert or shore up their roles: Airline Group Turns to Blockchain to Bypass Entrenched Distribution Systems
>>Southwest has perennially been a thorn in the side of online travel companies that lusted after getting access to its flights and fares. But no one can credibly argue that Southwest’s insistence on direct distribution hasn’t worked for the airline. Its competitors and peers inside and outside of the airline industry can only be jealous: How Herb Kelleher Made Southwest a Vexing Problem for Online Travel
>>Google’s voice-powered assistant now lets you check in for United flights. Nice. The tech giant is also working with Hyatt and other hotels on testing a translation device at front desks. The early word is that the translations need to improve: Google Starts Piloting Voice Products for Airlines and Hotels
>>You’re hearing a lot of doomsday forecasts for 2019. Global recession. Stock market rout. Runaway inflation. We’re here to give you the flip side for how travel this year could be just fine. Listen to our experts on Wednesday, January 16 at 1 p.m. EST on a Skift Call. Please join us for this all-important discussion: Skift Call Jan. 16: Why Travel Needs to Shake Off the Gloom in 2019
>>It isn’t clear precisely by what terms American Airlines and Expedia settled their trademark infringement lawsuit. What is known is that Expedia’s Add-On Advantage program, the subject of the dispute, remains operational: American Airlines and Expedia Quietly Settle Trademark Lawsuit
>>Webjet Limited has risen as a major online travel agency in Australia and the No. 2 bedbank player globally. But stiff competition among online players down under, a slowdown in cruise sales, and low bedbank margins will keep it on its toes: Webjet Australia Grew Revenue Tenfold in 8 Years: Now It Gets Tough
>>Consolidation continues in the global event management marketplace, with Travel Leaders Group investing more in international assets that expand its reach in a crowded marketplace: Travel Leaders Acquires UK-Based Event Management Company
>>The wellness industry is on the rise, so it makes sense that wellness tech would be garnering a lot of excitement at CES. Women’s health in particular is having its moment in the tech spotlight: Wellness Tech Is Having a Moment
>>This week travel startups announced funding for event management tech (RainFocus and B Network), luggage with power ports (Horizn Studios), short-term rental booking in Vietnam (Luxstay), and travel rewards tools for financial companies (Upgrade Pack): RainFocus Raises $40 Million for Event Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week