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.
Uber Has an Event Service — Who Knew? Uber knows that it is one of the primary modes of transportation at events — and has designed a service around that. Still, the company doesn’t really advertise this service very well, and it means that lots of planners are unaware of it.
Uber’s Potentially Powerful — Yet Largely Unknown — Event Service: Uber has the potential to be a big tool for corporate event planners, but the company doesn’t do a great job of marketing itself.
Airbnb Makes Debut in Google Vacation Rentals — For Now: In online travel, everything is tactical and not necessarily permanent. But for now, at least, those coveted Airbnb listings are appearing in Google’s vacation rental pages in some European cities. This could have big implications for both companies if those listings remain.
Ctrip Name Change to Trip.com Group Is Now Official: The name change to Trip.com Group is not a bad idea for Ctrip as it increasingly comes out of its shell and becomes a global force in online travel. A catchy domain name, though, doesn’t guarantee anything.
Why Some Short-Term Rental Tech Vendors Are Turning Away from Independent Hosts: Short-term rental tech vendors are increasingly forced to pick a side: Focus on professional property managers or focus on the long tail of independent hosts. There’s business in both, but understanding customer needs is paramount.
Short-Term Rental Managers Look to Data for Smarter Pricing: Nowhere is the need for a more tech-driven, business-oriented model for setting rates more clear than with short-term rental property management companies. Several startups aim to supercharge rate-setting with data-powered insights.
Budget Chain Oyo Can Be a Nightmare for U.S. Hotel Operators Despite Its Hype: Oyo has a hype machine to rival any brand. But beneath all of the disruption, some hotel owners complain its technology is unstable and lacks functionality, leaving them to clean up the mess. Growth for growth’s sake may seem great for a unicorn-like valuation, but the hotel chain will need to grapple with flaws in its business model that can’t keep pace.
An In-Depth Look at Hotel Chain Oyo’s Financials and Strategy: New Skift Research: Oyo promises a new type of hotel company. It’s an asset-light brand that seeks to connect the global long tail of mom-and-pop hotels through its tech and distribution platform. But can it live up to the hype? Skift Research dives deep into Oyo’s business strategy and financial performance.
Google Is Phasing Out Its Buzzy Touring Bird Tours and Activities Search Feature: Touring Bird gained no traction in the real world outside Area 120, and for all the inroads metasearch has made in hotels, flights, and cars, it has really struggled in emerging categories where the products aren’t cookie-cutter such as in vacation rentals, and tours and activities.
Amadeus and Sabre Sign Up for New Approach to Flight Selling: New deals mean that offline and online travel agencies will more quickly and commonly see richly descriptive details about what any given airfare includes, such as facts about legroom and photos of premium class seats. But don’t hold your breath in anticipation. Travel sellers have to wait another five years before next-gen selling will become the norm for agents.
Jet Lag App Timeshifter Makes Moves on Asia’s Hotels, Airlines: Timeshifter, brandishing NASA-approved science, wants to revolutionize how the travel industry helps guests fight jet lag. The science has won consumers over, and is a no-brainer for airlines. But in Asia’s cutthroat hotel business, how it can integrate the app into different branded programs is perhaps a different science.
Travelzoo Places Bet on Social Media Marketing in China: In traditional business logic, the big beat the small. But in Asia-Pacific today, fast companies beat the slow ones. It’s an open question whether Travelzoo can rev up its metabolism enough there to thrive.
Will Delta’s Subscription-Based Loyalty Perks Catch On? For those who are willing to pay for access, Delta’s SkyMiles Select program is a good alternative to flying the requisite miles to earn elite status. But it also sets an interesting precedent for paying for overhead bin space.
Why Working Remotely Is Becoming Mainstream: Convincing companies to let their employees travel the world has been tough but Remote Year CEO Greg Caplan says it’s getting easier as corporate travel becomes more about flexibility.
Remote Year Founder Talks About Taking Corp Travel to a Whole New Level: Remote Year flips the average business trip on its head, making it more about the destination rather than the nature of the work itself. As flexibility becomes more important for business travelers, the company sees increasing interest from employees and managers alike.
Blueground Raises $50 Million for Extended-Stay Lodging: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week travel startups announced more than $64 million in funding. Investors backed innovations in extended-stay lodging, food waste management, voice-powered instructions for airline and hotel workers, help for distressed visitors in India, and event planning tools.