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.
Expedia Tells Hotels Adding Resort Fees Will Lower Your Listings on Its Pages:
Expedia Group’s stance on resort fees could have been drafted by a United Nations diplomat. Expedia doesn’t want to alienate hotels and seeks to pick up market share based on Booking Holdings’ more forceful position. But it’s hitting resort-fee-charging hotels right where it hurts — in the prominence of their listings.
Vrbo Shuffles Leadership as Latest Expedia Group Reorganization Moves Take Shape: No pain, no gain, right? Expedia’s Vrbo unit, which is almost an afterthought when it comes to discussions about Airbnb, Booking.com, and Google, has been undergoing a difficult transition. In itself, changing the leadership isn’t the answer, but along with other changes, perhaps it won’t hurt.
Expedia’s Vrbo to Reposition Itself Beyond Vacation Rentals as a Family Travel Business: In a very crowded and highly competitive short-term rental field, it makes sense that Expedia Group’s Vrbo would try to stand out, albeit as a travel business serving families. Why go after the backpackers and younger generation when that isn’t your core customer anyway?
Airbnb Hosts Will Be Able to Pay to Fast-Track Verification of Their Listings: Airbnb — and other players in the short-term rental space — have a daunting task in trying to verify millions of home listings, along with an expanded array of tours and activities. With this push, it might just open up more players to liability from content offered on their platforms.
IHG Is Changing How It Distributes Its Hotel Rates to Boost Direct Bookings: IHG represents a broader industry trend in that it’s getting tougher with online travel agencies and wholesalers in the West while becoming more experimental with online travel sellers in Asia, where it needs help to grow its sales. Its use of new technologies to try to keep its strategy coordinated and to boost revenue are eye-catching.
Oyo CEO Claims Backer SoftBank Isn’t Trying to Sway Its Hotel Strategy: WeWork’s implosion is putting pressure on all of SoftBank’s investments, Oyo included. If it’s not changing course already, the budget hotel chain may soon have to decide whether, as CEO Ritesh Agarwal put it, to grow fast or grow right.
AirAsia.com Starts Selling Competitors’ Flights Via Kiwi.com Partnership: It’s finally happened. AirAsia.com is selling other airlines on its website and app. Powered by Kiwi.com, it’s a start. Getting direct contracts with airlines is next. Should online travel agencies continue to doubt AirAsia’s foray into their turf? “Believe the unbelievable,” CEO Tony Fernandes said.
Trip.com Group’s Softer Growth Shows Extent of China Outbound Slowdown: Single-digit growth is something China’s largest online travel company isn’t used to, but that may just happen in the fourth quarter. Growth has already softened in the third.
Trivago’s Incoming CEO Gets Busy Tweaking Its Advertising Strategy: Trivago’s incoming CEO Axel Hefer signaled Thursday that the company would change its auctions to appeal more to advertisers. Most promising is how it will now let Booking.com and other advertisers bid for different types of customers for essentially the first time.
Travelio Raises $18 Million for Extended Stay Booking: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week, travel startups Travelio, Refundit, and Nowaday together announced more than $33 million in funding. Of particular note is Amadeus’ backing of Refundit. The startup offers visitors to European Union countries a mobile app to speed up their claims for rebates for value-added taxes paid on retail shopping.
Meditation Apps Battle for Airline Partners: If you think about it, airlines and meditation apps make a perfect pairing. Headspace currently has a stronghold when it comes to in-flight meditation, but the new Inscape and JetBlue partnership could chip away at its dominance.