Skift Take

This week in digital news, swiping a credit card to make a purchase suddenly seems dated. In a field rife with options, travel brands should take care to make sure customers can pay by their preferred method. Plus, a wave of new regulatory reviews of online travel platforms could reveal key business practices that were previously shrouded.

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.

Hipmunk Co-Founders Spurned by SAP Concur in Attempt to Buy Back the Company: It isn’t very unusual for a company like Hipmunk to get acquired and then to fade into oblivion in the clutches of a much larger corporation. That’s the way it goes in the heartless mergers-and-acquisitions game.

Latin America’s Biggest Travel Company Isn’t Despegar or Booking: Brazil’s CVC Corp.’s purchase of Argentina’s Almundo is a strategic move to increase its digital reach — but more importantly it helps CVC build even greater scale beyond its home borders.

Google Vacation Rental Partners Diverge on Whether to Name Guests in Reviews: Booking sites’ guests reviews on Google have been a highly charged issue for years. The latest is that Airbnb and TripAdvisor are willingly giving Google their guest reviews of vacation rentals, but they are busy figuring out how not to give away the store in the process.

How Struggling Air India Is Setting the Stage for a Major Battle Among Distribution Giants: Much is at stake for global distribution systems and travel agencies as struggling Air India uses airline distribution as a means to stay afloat. The real winners and losers in this battle are still up in the air, with Amadeus back in the game after pulling out over a year ago.

Latin America’s Despegar Wants to Double Bookings by 2025: How Realistic Is That? Despegar doesn’t follow the same playbook as the global online travel players. Charting its own path has worked for the Latin American agency. Expect Despegar to make a strategic acquisition this year to support its heady plans for growth.

Oyo Axes Staff and Pares Back Ambitions: Where Does It Go From Here? Those unbelievable expansion numbers that Ritesh Agarwal used to rattle off? We won’t be hearing them again in 2020. The Oyo founder is forced to think of business sustainability. Let’s see if he’s adept at it.

Instagram and Google Maps Contribute to Hawaii Tourists Behaving Badly: Hawaii, with its isolated location, fragile ecosystem, and deep-rooted local culture, faces even more problems with overtourism than most popular destinations do. Tourism marketers are looking at ways to manage the situation, but it’s a huge challenge.

Can Travel Advisors Help Hawaii Deal With Its Tourism Issues? The many travel advisors who sell Hawaii certainly have a part to play in contributing to Hawaii’s sustainable future.

How Global Event Planners Need to Think About China’s Secondary Cities: China has become a hot spot for global business travel, and its secondary cities are evolving to accommodate larger conferences and conventions. What should event planners know?

What You Need to Know About Events in China in the Next 5 Years: China’s event sector is poised to grow explosively over the next five years. Expect some interesting innovations from a country that isn’t beholden to the way things are done traditionally.

A Quiet Giant in Expense Technology Has New Name and Mission: Combined travel and expense technology companies are having a moment right now. One should also watch which travel management companies begin to further flesh out their own integrated expense solutions.

SiteMinder Gets Funding Boost as Financial Titan BlackRock Bets on Hotel Tech: To call a company the best-capitalized hotel tech startup might seem like pointing out the tallest leprechaun. But while SiteMinder serves only about 36,000 hotels out of a million worldwide, new funding from cash-rich investor BlackRock could fuel the hotel connectivity startup’s growth substantially.

Expense Technology Landscape Heats Up: The expense technology sector has quickly become one to watch. Realistically, though, chipping away at SAP Concur’s business is going to be difficult.

The Future of Mobility in Corp Travel Brings a Messy Chase for Scale: round transportation in corporate travel has evolved into a complicated and costly mess. There is some hope that new platforms will solve these issues, but that point isn’t coming any time soon.

6 Takeaways From Airbnb’s Manifesto on Stakeholder Capitalism Ahead of Davos: Airbnb has legions of critics, and it knows that its articulated stakeholder goals will get intense scrutiny. But if the company turns some of these corporate governance aspirations into reality, then it could emerge looking pretty good compared with many established travel industry companies offering just lip service.

Xiezhu Raises $37 Million for Smart Hotel Tech: Travel Startup Funding This Week: This week, travel startups announced more than $100 million in funding. One company to call out is Xiezhu. It provides software and hardware to about 8,000 hotels in China. We expect broad growth in the “smart hotels” trend, which involves devices such as electronic door locks for guest rooms that can be opened by voice or facial recognition.

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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Hipmunk the chipmunk sheds a tear in response to SAP Concur's denial of his bosses' attempt to buy back the company. Hipmunk

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