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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.
Airbnb Finally Embraces Verified Listings After Halloween Deaths: Airbnb has avoided these policies under the guise of being just a platform, much like the rest of the tech platform companies. We just hope at some point that tragedies are not the only way to propel change that lots of stakeholders have been asking for all along.
Google’s Travel Gains Levy Pain at TripAdvisor and Expedia: The fact that Google is leveraging its dominance as a search engine into taking market share away from travel competitors is no longer even debatable. Expedia and TripAdvisor officials seem almost depressed about the whole thing and resigned to its impact. Is there any more room on the couch?
MakeMyTrip and Oyo Downplay India Regulatory Probe: MakeMyTrip definitely faces some near-term challenges, but it doesn’t consider a recently announced regulatory probe in India to be one of them.
Booking Holdings Sees Brand Collaborations as Key to Restoring Growth on Steroids: The road back to a flywheel of growth would be a lengthy one for Booking Holdings. Google has a ton of data, too, as do other competitors. Can Booking Holdings create a product that is really deeper and differentiated from its rivals? That’s CEO Glenn Fogel’s bet.
TripAdvisor and Ctrip Enter Into Chinese Joint Venture and Global Licensing Agreement: The TripAdvisor-Trip.com Group deal is both a shocker and a non-shocker. When Ctrip decided to change the parent company name to Trip.com Group, you could see a certain affinity with the TripAdvisor brand. On the other hand, Booking Holdings has been Ctrip’s longtime best friend in China.
Eventbrite Struggles to Keep Customer Loyalty as Ticketfly Integration Drags On: The events platform posted a solid quarter, with self sign-ups growing both in the United States and internationally. Still, if the company can’t keep its larger Ticketfly clients, investors aren’t going to stay happy for long.
New TripAdvisor China Venture Eyes Digital Advertising Revenues: Digital advertising revenue surely is a key motivation behind the new TripAdvisor China joint venture, but whether the dollars are guaranteed is another question in China’s rich and innovative digital media landscape.
Expedia’s Reorganization Efforts Make the Company Less Nimble: Behind the scenes, the reorganization within Expedia Group must be ugly. Otherwise the CEO wouldn’t have cited it near the beginning of his prepared remarks during the earnings call. The last time Expedia cited a distraction like this was in 2016 when it stumbled after acquiring Orbitz Worldwide the previous year.
Toronto Pushback Shows Path Forward for Smart Cities Is Full of Compromises: By pushing back against Sidewalk Labs, the city of Toronto has shown that the future of the smart city will be forged by compromise and collaboration with local authorities.
Trivago Names New CEO in Surprise Executive Shuffle: The so-called relevancy assessment, which had Trivago punishing big advertisers for landing pages that didn’t perform well, and other factors, proved to be a multiyear disaster for the metasearch company. The company has ditched the policy — and now its CEO.
SiteMinder Diversifies Away From Helping Hotels Solely on Room Sales: Tech provider SiteMinder is the latest firm to make it easier for smaller hotels to adopt new tools from other third-party vendors to manage their properties. The trend could give the little guys more weaponry in online sales — and help SiteMinder become more valuable for hotels.
Hertz Continues to Outshine Avis With Tech Investments for Operations: Hertz recently upgraded its internal and fleet management systems, helping it overcome the hurdles that are bogging down Avis.
Hertz Rises Where Avis Falls in Crowded Landscape for Rides: Avis could learn a few things from Hertz’s strategy of investing in tech and operations.
Amtrak Charts Difficult Course to First Break-Even While Spending to Upgrade Operations: Former Delta CEO Richard Anderson has been spearheading a revamp of the U.S. national railway through boosting safety, driving more profits from its co-branded credit card, and creating a mix of more low-cost and premium services in the U.S. northeastern corridor. Anderson’s tricky balance is being ambitious while trimming longstanding losses.
Accor and Alibaba Form Partnership to Attract Chinese Travelers: Accor has formed a partnership with online marketplace Alibaba to make it easier for Chinese travelers to book rooms and other services. It’s a smart move to appeal to Alibaba’s 700 million high-spending consumers who are eager to travel around the world.
Trainline Experiments With Hotels to Boost Revenue: Understandably, CEO Clare Gilmartin didn’t want to play up moves into other travel areas too much at such an early stage, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on how the company evolves over the next few years as it looks to diversify away from rail tickets and make more money in other areas.
Amadeus Loses Premier Inn Tech Deal But Sees Growth Elsewhere: A few months ago, activist investor Elliott Management took Amadeus rival Travelport private. Elliott also happens to be the largest shareholder of Whitbread, the parent company of Premier Inn. That hotel chain has now dropped its contract with Amadeus for software services. Coincidence?
Corporate Group Booking Faces a Difficult Future Starting Mid-2020: Cvent Research: The decline in group bookings is already being felt by some hotels, something that may stretch throughout next year.
Travel Advisor Newbies Benefit From Expanding Array of Training Options: With an influx of newcomers seeking careers as travel advisors, host agencies and consortiums are responding with new professional development options. Much of it emphasizes business skills, giving a reality check to those who view a travel career as an easy endeavor with lots of perks.
Host Travel Agencies Step Up to Train Wave of Newcomers: A surge of newcomers are setting up shop as travel advisors — with some of them unprepared for the realities of the job. Host agencies and consortiums are ramping up efforts to give them the education they need.
Comtravo Raises $23 Million for Business Trip Management: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week, travel startups announced more than $60 million in funding for a business travel management agency, a sightseeing and experiences agency, a white-label travel insurance provider, a short-term rental manager that uses master leases in Asia, and a student travel service.