Skift Take

This week in digital news, TripAdvisor moves away from the crowded hotel booking scene, USA Today Travel suffered when it moved online, and travel advisors realize boomers may be the most lucrative customers.

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.

TripAdvisor Places Big Bets on Experience Bookers Rather Than Hotel Shoppers: TripAdvisor is leveraging its strengths — tours and activities, and restaurants — where it has leadership positions rather than choosing to devote the bulk of its energies in the crowded field of hotels and alternative accommodations. It is a wise choice to differentiate rather than be a mere clone of its competitors.

The Long, Sad Collapse of USA Today Travel: That’s the final nail in the coffin, but USA Today has been building that coffin since 2010.

Advisors Tap Into the Changing Consumer Behavior of Boomer Travelers: Despite all the marketing interest in reaching millennials, it may be the baby boomer generation that is the most likely business source for travel advisors. It’s a high-spending demographic that values interaction with those they can trust.

Lonely Planet Has a New CEO and a New Strategy: The old Lonely Planet is dead. Say hello to the new “omnichannel travel platform.”

TripAdvisor Saw Experiences and Restaurants as Major Growth Contributors in 2018: Fickle investors, meaning those without a long-range view, didn’t necessarily appreciate the breadth of the TripAdvisor platform in the past. The company isn’t the biggest player out there, but its strong positions in tours and activities, as well as restaurants, is injecting momentum.

Deem Plans Growth With Backing From Enterprise: With support from Enterprise Holdings, Deem plans on growing and refining its existing products. On the horizon, though, lurks the promise of a new travel platform to help the company evolve in a competitive global corporate travel market.

Expedia Had a Less-Is-More Approach to Mergers in 2018: Expedia is an opportunistic company, and mergers and acquisitions are part of its DNA. The company has been quiet on this front for the past three years. It is sort of due to make another big splash.

Expedia Winning at Mobile in Southeast Asia: New Study. A bigger chunk of online travel bookings will be made through mobile in Southeast Asia and players need to improve the user experience fast. Learn from Expedia, which has been anointed the guru of mobile in the region by a Google/Accenture study.

Sabre’s Bottom Line Got a Lift From U.S. Tax Cuts: A U.S. tax law change benefited travel distribution giant Sabre in more ways than the typical company due to some particularities in its business. The savings appeared to help give the company the flexibility to acquire the tech vendor Farelogix late last year.

Transportation Booker GoEuro Changing Name to Omio: A new name shows that GoEuro has ambitions outside of Europe. Can it deliver on this promise?

Airbnb Isn’t Going Anywhere. So Why Aren’t Cities Regulating It More? Cities are still trying to figure out how to tax and regulate this disruptive service 11 years after it was created — but so far most still aren’t doing a good job.

Traveler Sentiment Tracking Gets Spotlight With Medallia’s Intent to Go Public: Customer-experience software companies Medallia, which is planning to go public this year, and Qualtrics, which SAP has just acquired for $8 billion, are receiving cash injections that should rev up their services. That’s significant news for travel businesses that depend heavily on positive customer sentiment but increasingly face customer survey fatigue.

Travel Megatrends 2019: Online Travel Agencies Scurry for Salvation Beyond Hotels. Online travel agencies will be around a decade from now, but food, activities, and rides will be a lot more important to them and their customers. The saplings of this future growth are already visible in 2019.

Virtuo Raises $23 Million for Car Rentals: Travel Startup Funding This Week. Three interesting companies announced investments this week: Virtuo, a car rental service, aims to replace service counters with mobile-first customer service. May Mobility builds autonomous vehicles for smart cities. NuStay offers hotel price-comparison.


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Tags: experiential travel, trends roundups

Photo credit: Expedia photo of a woman snorkeling. Some travel platforms have realized an increasing amount of money can be made from experience travel, including tours, activities, and restaurants. Hanauma Bay, Hawaii

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