Skift Take

This week in digital news, we take a deep dive into Google Maps, comparing it to other superapps like Meituan in China or Grab in Southeast Asia. Plus, we talk to Avis executive Jeff Kaelin about customers' mobile experience and look at Jumia's growing hotel business in Africa.

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 Maps Is Ready to Transform the World of Superapps: A Skift Deep Dive: Consumers in the West reach almost reflexively for the Google Maps as the service becomes a nearly ubiquitous utility despite a dearth of messaging and payments. Whether it evolves into the next superapp may depend on whether users really want a do-everything app — and the mood of regulators seeking to break up big tech.

Improving the Car Rental Experience Starts With What Biz Travelers Want: As car rental providers get ready to take on the next decade, a stronger investment in digital technology seems to finally be paying off.

Jumia IPO Highlights Africa’s Shifting Online Travel Ecosystem: Jumia is one of a few companies that deserve credit for building nascent online travel businesses in several African markets. But as Google and other tech platforms gain a continent-wide presence, they may use their pervasiveness to play kingmakers in online travel.

Expedia Chairman Barry Diller Moves to Simplify Corporate Structure: Expedia will stop being a controlled company after it acquires Liberty, and Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia, will own about 29 percent of the online travel group’s voting power. The move makes the company’s ownership structure more transparent, which is a good thing.

Smaller Hotels and Hostels Catch Up on Tech With New Wave of Software Makers: The story of software maker Cloudbeds, named the fastest-growing travel and hospitality company in the U.S., points to a broader trend of smaller hotels adopting new tools to manage their properties.

Bizzabo and Gather Raise Millions for Event Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week: Two event tech startups, Bizzabo and Gather, have raised millions in funding to help businesses and restaurants manage and grow events. The companies are benefiting from a 2019 Megatrend that Skift summarized as “real-world experiences gain value in an era of tech burnout.”

Fosun’s Venture Capital Arm Backs Israeli Booking Site in an Ongoing Travel Push: While Western media tends to focus on the funding moves of corporate venture capital arms of regional brands like JetBlue and EasyJet, it’s also important to see how key investment players in Asia, like Shanghai-based Fosun, are investing, such as in Splitty, a hotel booking startup.

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Tags: travel trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Page for Le Bernardin restaurant on Google Maps app. Skift

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