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.

Marriott’s Alibaba Joint Venture in China Is Part of Its Direct-Booking Strategy: Marriott could do a lot worse than tying its fortunes in China to the e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba. Rest assured that this won’t be the last big partnership for Marriott in the country. These are, after all, early days.

United Invests in Clear to Offer Frequent Flyers Easier Screening: Clear doesn’t let you skip security screening at U.S. airport checkpoints, but its promise is to make the effort take less than five minutes consistently. Clearly United has heard from its most frequent customers that they value that consistency.

MakeMyTrip Grows Despite Turbulence in India’s Airline Sector: The past year has been a horror show for India’s aviation sector. So MakeMyTrip deserves kudos for continuing to grow its air ticketing and overall sales despite the upheaval. But executives deserve criticism for the company’s relentless unprofitability.

The Highest Paid Travel CEOs in Europe in 2018: Amadeus’ Luis Maroto came out on top in 2018. His executive compensation is appropriate, given that the company is the most valuable European travel firm.

Is the Events Industry Finally Ready for Instant Booking?: This isn’t the industry’s first attempt to change the booking system. So what makes this time any different?

Top Tech Exec at Traveloka Instrumental in New Wave of Growth Dies: Grief hits Traveloka as a key member of the leadership team passes away, just as the company is looking to raise new funding.

Amadeus Finds Growth in Businesses Outside of Distribution: Amadeus deserves credit for making strides in reducing its dependence on its original core business of airline distribution. Few companies in any industry succeed in diversifying. But work remains to be done. Plus, the company may not be doing enough to capture Asia’s potential as a market.

Sabre Hunts for More Tech Deals to Overcome Sales Slump: Sabre’s management must have seen this quarter’s sales slowdown coming. After all, the company’s prior management had underspent in the research and development work necessary to keep its sales growth humming. Sabre’s new leaders have been investing in its long-term growth, but the payoff in sales growth may take awhile.

Socio Raises $6 Million for Event Management: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week travel startups announced approximately $95 million in funding. One standout was Socio, a company that offers software for managing events. Its funding highlights a broader trend of investment in the event tech sector.

Expedia CEO Admits Tours Business Is Underfunded: Expedia and Ctrip are the two large online travel companies that have so far not acquired a technology partner to foster the growth of their tours and activities’ businesses. GetYourGuide argues that these tech/connectivity companies should remain independent, but how long will it be before some of these smaller companies get scooped up?

Booking Quietly Taps Google Heavy Hitter to Lead Marketing in Exec Reorg: Glenn Fogel adding CEO to his Booking.com title as Gillian Tans transitioned to a one-year chairwoman role was not the only element of the management shakeup at the parent company’s largest brand in June. The executive changes were more far-reaching, and the implications are open-ended.

Skift Global Forum Preview: Away’s Jen Rubio Created Cult Luggage by Creating a Community: Jen Rubio didn’t just co-create a luggage brand — she created an online community by understanding the way travel is an aspirational good in the age of social media. Plenty of companies could learn a thing or two.

Instant Booking Is Long Overdue for Small Meetings: Industry players are saying that the booking process is finally starting to shift. Still, there are significant challenges when it comes to finding a solution that works for all parties.

Photo Credit: Celebrations at Alibaba's Ali Day 2019 in China. Marriott is hoping to capture some of this enthusiasm in the form of direct bookings through its joint venture with Alibaba. Skift