Skift Take

This week in digital news, Travelport embarks on its next stage of growth, Amadeus discusses its goals surrounding disruptive technology, and a French startup uses self-learning tech to improve on the chatbot model.

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.

Travelport Finally Goes Private This Week in $4.4 Billion Deal: Travelport is expected to leave the public markets in a $4.4 billion leveraged buyout. After months of waiting, the company can finally move on to its next steps.

Why Oyo and Ctrip Need Each Other: Bigger Reach in Asia: Oyo has more rooms in China than in India, but India is still its biggest revenue generator. A deal with Ctrip may help correct that imbalance.

Airbnb Eliminates Some Guest Fees to Take on Booking Holdings: Airbnb is clearly now well down the path toward a host-only fee structure. Chalk it up to its push toward onboarding hotels, which don’t charge guest fees, and Airbnb’s competition with, which sees guest fees as unholy.

Agoda CEO: Online Travel Is Becoming Like the Game of Thrones: Agoda has been an online travel leader in Asia for more than a decade. CEO John Brown doesn’t doubt that it will stay the same, but the new competition sure indicates winter is coming.

AirAsia Deputy CEO Confident That Becoming Amazon of Travel Is ‘Very Doable’: Lots of companies have plenty of data at their disposal to improve operations and personalize services. Whether AirAsia has the wherewithal to become a much broader e-commerce platform is a very open question.

Skift Tech Forum: Amadeus Says Computer Vision Models Will Disrupt Aviation Tech: Computer vision algorithms will have a huge impact on airline and airport operations, according to Marion Mesnage, who heads up the research and innovation team at Amadeus, the travel tech giant.

Accor Backs Chatbot Tech Builder Mindsay in $10 Million Funding Round: The funding of French startup Mindsay may be small news. But interviews with its customers Iberia and CWT suggest that a second wave of chatbot technology has stopped frustrating travelers with as many misunderstandings as the earlier tech did. That’s a big deal for the sector.

Booking Site Ixigo’s Rail-First Strategy Propels Growth in India: An exclusive first look at Ixigo’s fiscal year financials reveals that the travel price-comparison startup is growing rapidly. Its story suggests how business models that originated in Western markets sometimes need to adapt to local needs to succeed in emerging markets.

Skift Tech Forum: How Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Guest Experience: For travelers, tech overload can easily lead to burnout, but when used the right way, a flexible platform can foster a solid human connection.

Serko Staffs Up for Pivotal Year of International Growth: Serko is taking its Zeno corporate travel tool global. Scaling the company is coming at a cost, but corporate leadership is hopeful that the spending will pay off in 2020.

Interprefy Raises $2.8 Million for Event Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week: Startups announcing funding this week include Mindsay, a travel chatbot maker, Interprefy, a service for providing remote interpreters for events, Airfree, a service that sells duty-free products online during flights, and Airblack, a social-travel commerce startup.

Cvent Dives Deeper Into Weddings: Cvent’s approach of filling the holes in its platform through acquisitions continues.

Big Tech Thinks It Can Capitalize on Wellness Travel: There’s a lot of money to be made in wellness travel. Big tech is smartly capitalizing on this growing sector by creating services that cater to travelers with personal well-being in mind, whether they’re slogging through a work trip or enjoying a DNA-based tourism trek.

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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Travelport’s Claire Osborne (left) with Meon Valley Travel’s Kelly Doherty making the first NDC booking at the agency’s offices in Leicester on Friday 19 October, 2018. Travelport

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