Skift Take

In digital news this week, text messages between executives at Sabre may have given U.S. regulators ammunition for their antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant over its acquisition of Farelogix. Also, we look at an IT outage at British Airways and other recent tech problems at airlines and talk to Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel about the potential of cash alternatives.

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.

Texts Between Sabre Execs About Farelogix Deal Fuel U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit: Sabre had tried the unorthodox legal tactic of pursuing its $360 million acquisition of Farelogix, an airline tech vendor, without waiting for approval from U.S. antitrust watchdogs. But it apparently didn’t count on federal attorneys claiming they have text messages between Sabre executives acknowledging the anti-competitive nature of the deal.

Why Do Airlines Suffer So Many Tech Glitches?: A British Airways hiccup earlier this month was merely the latest tech outage at a number of airlines. Why does the industry suffer from so many glitches? Experts point to some deeper reasons beyond the commonly heard “old tech” explanation.

Delta Sues Chatbot Vendor Faulted for Data Breach: Many grandmothers have tighter password security than tech vendor [24] allegedly did. A hacker had an easy time accessing the vendor’s code, and through it, the payment card data of up to 825,000 Delta customers. No wonder the airline is suing.

Airbnb Beat Expedia in Booked Room Nights: Does anyone remember when Travelocity was the leading U.S. online travel agency? We’re thinking about that because a milestone may have taken place in the first quarter when Airbnb attracted more room nights booked than did Expedia. What it does clearly show is that the online travel pecking order is very much in flux.

Private Equity Firm Accel-KKR’s Latest Fix: Hotel Enterprise Software: The short-term goal of the deals is to win more work from hotel management companies. The long-term goal is to sell the combined portfolio. We look at the merits of Accel-KKR-owned Cendyn’s acquisition of Rainmaker. We also look at potential acquisition targets.

Finding the Right Venue Still Plagues Meeting Planners Despite Digital Tools: Most planners still have a hard time sourcing and booking the right venue for an event. High costs and rude salespeople are only a couple of the obstacles they face despite new technology aimed to help ease the process.

Skift Global Forum Preview: Booking CEO Glenn Fogel Sees Cryptocurrency Potential: Whether it’s payments or overtourism, Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel has a lot to say about — and a lot of influence over — the future of travel. His views, you’ll see, aren’t always politically correct.

High-Touch and High-Tech Find Common Ground With Travel Advisors: Virtuoso CEO: Virtuoso Travel Week drew record attendance to the annual event it likens to Fashion Week. While heavily touting the consortium’s new Wanderlist travel planning tool, it also emphasized the human touch.

TripAdvisor Drops Outmoded Little Wiser Owl Character From Ads: TripAdvisor’s new ad campaign is more hip than its usual fare. It also shows where its business is heading with hotel booking eventually having to share the limelight with tours and dining.

How Much the Human Connection Still Matters: Serving the emotional needs of clients, a key theme during this year’s Virtuoso Travel Week, is another indicator of how the travel advisor’s role continues to evolve beyond the booking of travel. Tech tools are a help in determining emotional needs, but not as much as human interaction.

The Events Industry Has a Blindspot When It Comes to Attendee Engagement: If you can’t first measure engagement, then it’s hard to improve it. Digital tracking devices are a good investment for planners, and something to add to their toolbox, along with mobile apps and surveys.

Travelport, IBM and BCD Travel Use Blockchain to Manage Hotel Commissions: Blockchain isn’t as hyped up as it used to be during the bitcoin craze, but companies are still finding its function as a secure ledger useful. If this catches on, it could provide some much-needed transparency to the hotel reconciliation process.

Group Bookings Slowdown Showing Up Already in Hotel Earnings: As the U.S.-China trade war drags on, its effect on group business travel becomes more and more apparent. An uncertain political environment within the U.S. is also probably having an impact.

Zhiketong Raises $42.5 Million for Hotel Marketing on WeChat: Travel Startup Funding This Week: Zhiketong stands out for receiving investment from top-tier investors and travel companies. The company helps hotels and other firms market their services to travelers via WeChat, a messaging service and payment platform. Hotels like WeChat because it charges lower commissions than online travel agencies like Ctrip.

Why Technology Isn’t Being Used to Track Engagement at Events: Ask nearly any event organizer about attendee engagement, and they’ll say it’s a top priority. Despite this, most have not invested in the right technology to track and analyze attendee behavior.

What Hotel Earnings Reveal About Group Business Travel: It’s undeniable: Group bookings are declining, and they probably will be for a while.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Sabre, which faces a U.S. antitrust lawsuit, apparently didn’t count on federal attorneys claiming they have text messages between Sabre executives acknowledging the anti-competitive nature of its $360 million Farelogix deal. 356047 / 356047

Up Next

Loading next stories