Skift Take

This week in digital news, a spike in mobile use in the Middle East has spurred new online travel competition, and Medallia, a customer feedback firm fresh from its IPO, must confront survey fatigue. Meanwhile, Trivago is considering axing an advertising feature that was controversial and ended up hurting its own finances.

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.

Rise in Mobile Bookings in Middle East Creates New Online Travel Competition: Online travel in the Middle East is not an opportunity to be scoffed at, and smaller online travel outfits and travel search engines are flexing their muscles against established portals like and TripAdvisor to capture the increasingly digital traveler.

Expedia President Aman Bhutani Is Leaving Amid Exec Reshuffle: Expedia is moving toward simplifying the various brands and organizational units it has acquired over the years, and changes such as these are to be expected.

Expedia Still Has High Hopes for a Vrbo Bounce — Next Year: When Expedia Group acquired HomeAway, now renamed Vrbo, in 2015, officials obviously knew they weren’t getting an Airbnb. Still, they may have obtained less than they bargained for because the journey so far has been very bumpy.

Newly Public Customer Feedback Firm Medallia Must Overcome Survey Fatigue: Medallia has pleased investors so far with the sales of its enterprise software for tracking customer feedback. But burnout on surveys is an industrywide problem, especially in travel. It remains an open question whether Medallia and its rival tech vendors can overcome the issue.

Trivago Could Kill Controversial Ad Feature That Caused Its Fortunes to Plummet: Trivago is trying to make peace with its largest advertisers, especially the biggest, Booking Holdings. These peace overtures seem to be working for now, but metasearch and advertising can be very fickle things.

The Surprising Rise of Hotel Spending on Metasearch Advertising: Many hotel groups are directing more of their ad budgets toward price-comparison search sites. That’s a boon for vendors providing connectivity and automation services. But it’s also a welcome, if still modest, injection for metasearch players like Trivago that have recently been struggling.

Might Travelzoo Find a Company Buyer in China? Travelzoo’s founder Ralph Bartel has seen the value of his investment in the public company go from north of a billion to less than $100 million over two decades. Could the chairman of the company be seeking an exit with a sale to a buyer in Asia?

TravelPerk Makes It Easy to Cancel Biz Travel Plans: There’s been a lot going on with TravelPerk lately. With this new service, the travel management startup is clearly taking steps to disrupt the corporate travel industry.

TravelPerk Offers Nearly Full Refunds to Corporate Travelers Who Cancel: So far the company is making good on its plans to innovate the corporate travel space. But offering refunds on this scale is a big promise to make.

FlixMobility Raises $561 Million for Intercity Travel: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week a handful of companies announced more than $650 million in funding. Business models include intercity bus and train travel, Oyo-style franchising in China, and the mobile ordering of duty-free goods on airplanes.

When a Meditation App Becomes a Billion-Dollar Business: There’s no denying that meditation is on the rise in the U.S., and companies want in on the upswing. Not only are the big players getting more funding but so too are startups, which might be able to carve out their own niches.

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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: The Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. A spike in mobile use in the Middle East has spurred new online travel competition. Bloomberg

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