Skift Take

This week in digital news, Google's easy-to-use hotel destination threatens to shake up the booking industry, and we explore the potential impact of Elizabeth Warren's proposal to regulate big tech. Plus, multi-purpose delivery platform Meituan Dianping takes over as the go-to site for hotels in China.

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.

Google Quietly Releases Its Hotel Booking Destination With Potentially Huge Implications: Within months, Google has rolled out new features in flights and hotels that, we dare say, make it a convenient one-stop shop to book travel sans encumbrances. Given its dominance in search, hotels and online travel agencies are on another planet if they are not feeling wary.

What a Breakup of Big Tech Could Mean for Travel: Going down the rabbit hole and considering the effect of a big tech crackdown in travel, Google and global distribution systems have perhaps the most to lose. It’s likely, though, that few, if any, of Elizabeth Warren’s proposed restrictions will ever become U.S. law.

Meituan Dianping Claims Leadership as Largest Domestic Hotel Site in China. Meituan has an advantage in travel over some of its competitors because it is a platform company, offering an extensive array of retail services, although food delivery is its core business. The Chinese hotel market is clearly in flux with Meituan and, to a lesser extent, Alibaba, nipping at Ctrip’s heels.

Would Tax Law Proposals Kill Travel Agencies in Some States? As states look for new sources of tax revenue in the service-driven economy, businesses like travel agencies are viewed as likely targets. Part of the problem is ignorance among legislators of how agencies operate and why added taxes would be devastating for many.

Red Lion Launches a Subsidiary to Sell Software to Hotels: CEO Greg Mount persuasively says many independent hotel operators are overpaying for operational software that’s inadequate. Red Lion is savvy to try to woo independent hoteliers by promising preferential commission rates with online travel agencies. Still, execution will be difficult.

Four Seasons and Costco Direct-Booking Efforts Irk Travel Advisors: A recent Today Show segment touting Costco Travel is riling ASTA, as are Four Seasons ads on Facebook promising perks for direct bookings. Travel advisors are irked as well, but are finding ways to hold their own.

Datalex Seeks Cash Injection After Debacle on Lufthansa Tech Project: Datalex, which provides tech to help power ticket booking on airline websites, is desperate for good news, which is why the company’s words in the next few months should be treated with skepticism. That said, a lowered share price may make the vendor a takeover target.

Travel Megatrends 2019: Real-World Experiences Gain Value in an Era of Tech Burnout. Travel companies are honing their own technological innovations even as Silicon Valley acknowledges the dangers of tech overload. Travelers must find a balance.


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Tags: Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Google main campus in Mountain View, California. Niharb / Skift

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