Skift Take

This week in digital news, Red Roof launched a new best-rate guarantee program that provides a strong incentive to anyone who finds a cheaper room rate through a third-party site, and we look at what's behind all of Shiji's hotel tech acquisitions.

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.

Red Roof Launches Aggressive Price-Match Guarantee to Boost Direct Bookings: Red Roof’s new best-rate guarantee program provides a strong incentive to anyone who finds a cheaper room rate through a third-party site. With hotel distribution channels tightening up though, consumers may have a hard time finding those deals.

Shiji’s Hotel Tech Acquisition Spree: A Closer Look: Since 2016, Shiji has spent $141 million on acquisitions and investments across 10 tech companies outside of China, according to our review of its financial filings. Yet we still don’t grasp the overseas strategy of the hospitality tech group.

Booking Holdings Makes Good on Resort-Fee Commission Charges: It appears as though big hotel brands that scream the loudest can get a reprieve from’s resort-fee commission charges. But that reprieve appears to only be temporary.

TripAdvisor Looks to Counter Google by Considering Loyalty Initiatives for First Time: A new loyalty program and a brand campaign to bolster direct traffic and user engagement are among the measures TripAdvisor is working on to counter the fact that Google is getting more stingy in providing free traffic. But TripAdvisor is also hoping — and anticipating — that U.S. regulators will step in.

Southwest Expands Booking Access for Business Travelers: This is a big step for the airline, which has historically kept its inventory off nearly all global distribution systems, online travel agencies, and corporate booking tools.

Booking Holdings CEO Sees Greater Need for Urgency Under New Exec Structure: Booking Holdings, along with Expedia Group, have both had to deal with acquisitions and integrations that have been taking too long. Booking officials are undoubtedly frustrated with the pace of progress at OpenTable and At Expedia Group, Vrbo has been a multiyear reclamation project. To the speedster go the spoils.

TripAdvisor Exec Accuses GetYourGuide of Fear-Mongering: TripAdvisor and Booking Holdings are seemingly playing nice and fair with the tours and activities companies for now, but what happens five years from now when competition gets more intense and extracting profits is more of a mandate? Will push come to shove?

Sri Lanka Boldly Asks Online Travel Agencies to Cut Commissions to Help Revive Tourism: Of the several measures to bring arrivals back to pre-Easter bombing levels, a tireless Sri Lanka is asking online travel agencies to slash commissions. It might be better to ask them instead to do a free or at-cost campaign to drive bookings to the country.

Eventbrite Makes Much-Needed Progress on Ticketfly Integration: Investors will be able to breathe a sigh of relief once the event and ticketing platform finally absorbs all of Ticketfly’s clients.

The Era of Ignoring Simple Meetings Is Over: Beyond savings, companies can get rich data from tracking these meetings, which is key for improving their events going forward.

Corporate Group Bookings Decline for 2020: Cvent Data: This report is worrying, especially since other industry players are starting to say the same thing.

BCD Travel Grows in North America by Adding Adelman Travel: BCD Travel has been steadily growing around the world, but its latest acquisition will help it compete in the crowded U.S. market for travel management services. Looks to Asia-Pacific for More Travel Deals: On the back of an impressive set of first-half results, is casting the net further afield in the search for new acquisitions. Buying up companies in other parts of the world doesn’t always work out, so executives will have to choose wisely.

Despegar Uses Installment Payments to Prod Demand: Some religions take it on faith that their messiah will come, but they stoically accept that the arrival has been delayed indefinitely. Similarly, Despegar believes that the online travel revolution will sweep Latin America, but it accepts that the glorious moment has been delayed indefinitely. Consumer financing is its secret sauce to sustain itself while it waits.

Fever Raised $35 Million for Event Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week travel startups announced more than $40 million in funding. Notably two of the companies, travel medical insurance seller SafetyWing and upselling tech firm HotelFlex, are graduates of the famed Y Combinator startup accelerator.

United Partners With Clear to Give Elite Frequent Flyers Discounted Screening: This partnership is good news for United’s most frequent customers. But will the deal between Clear and United enable the tech company to get a leg up on TSA PreCheck’s dominance?

Lessons From a Destination’s Crisis Recovery in Asia: It’s understandable that Sri Lanka wants arrivals to return to pre-Easter bombing levels soonest. The challenge is knowing what measures are needed, amid the sense of urgency that can cloud the mind.

Companies Have Started Tracking Meetings. What Changed? While this shift is well under way, it’s still early days. Many companies are trying to figure out basic information, like how many meetings they have in a year.

What Will It Take to Disrupt the Corporate Travel Space? New distribution capability continued to be a big focus at this year’s GBTA Convention, but so far the technology isn’t living up to the hype.

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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: The Red Collection's St. Clair Hotel in downtown Chicago. Red Roof is getting aggressive about wanting travelers to book direct. Red Roof / Red Roof

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