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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 hospitality.
For all of our weekend roundups, go here.
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.
Hostel or Not? Shared Rooms Pop Up in Traditional Hotels: Lobbies are no longer the only spaces hotel guests can share. Now some hotels are offering travelers the choice of sharing guest rooms. But will the shared spaces be enough to lure millennial travelers away from the likes of Airbnb?
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.
Hyatt Joins Other Big Hotel Chains by Pledging to Eliminate Small Plastic Bottles: Hyatt joins Marriott and IHG by promising to get rid of single-use plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and lotion with large-format bathroom amenities. Hotels are wisely promising to do what they can to mitigate waste. Let’s see if they can make their deadlines.
Popular Thai Beaches Pricier Than European Resorts: It’s Not Just About the Higher Baht: It’s easy to blame the baht as the butt of the problem for a decline in European arrivals to Thailand. The issues, however, are wider and deeper than just currency appreciation.
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.
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 on their listings.
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?
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.
Cooler Temperatures Can Heighten Perception of Luxury: How consumers feel about luxury products may depend on how they feel. That is, whether they perceive something to be hot or cold.
Luxury Gets a Status Boost From Cold Temperatures: Travel marketers need to think outside the box. The icebox, that is. A new research study reports that temperature can impact consumer perceptions of luxury and status.
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.