Skift Take

Tripadvisor — in a fight to maintain its share of the travel market — is beefing up Viator and will start treating the tours-and-activities booking agency as its own brand. Plus, after years of criticism for prioritizing its own travel products above others, Google is changing the way it monetizes its flight search.

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.

Tripadvisor Reorganization Brings Exec Departures and New Life for Viator: Flush with SoftBank and other venture capital money, GetYourGuide and Klook, as well as Airbnb and, are nipping at Tripadvisor’s heels in tours and activities. Tripadvisor will try to leverage its brand, Viator, which already had a following before Tripadvisor absorbed it, to keep the insurgents at bay.

Google Flights Ends Booking Charges for Airlines That Paid: With potential pressure from U.S. regulatory authorities and perhaps displeasure from airlines, Google is making the biggest change to the way it monetizes flight search since it launched Google Flights in 2011. Perhaps free search engine optimization for flights isn’t dead after all.

Tripadvisor to Lay Off 200 Workers With Experiences Business in Line of Fire: Along with its dining reservations business, Tripadvisor’s tours and activities unit had been a bright spot. But well-funded competitors such as GetYourGuide and Klook have tightened the race, and Tripadvisor is feeling it.

Travel Megatrends 2020: The Future of Travel Will Be Driven by Urban Living Innovations: Cities have always been incubators for innovation, but with two-thirds of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050, developments being rolled out today to accommodate that new density will serve the travel industry in positive ways.

How New Entrants Are Shaking Up the Hotel Property Management Space: New Skift Research: Legacy property management systems (PMS) missed the boat when tech innovation started ramping up. Now they are playing catch-up. Cloud computing, open APIs, marketplaces, and middleware layers are shaking up this stale corner of hotel tech, and it’s crazy exciting.

Are Hotels Missing Out as Instant Booking for Meetings Grows? As instant booking grows slowly among hotel chains, more boutique venues and co-working spaces are finding traction on digital sourcing platforms.

Instant Booking for Simple Meetings Goes Mainstream: Instant booking has allowed co-working spaces and boutique venues to reach more planners. Now, more hotels are expected to go digital.

Oracle Hospitality’s New Boss Sees Gaps in Its Hotel Tech Portfolio: Oracle Hospitality’s Alex Alt sees two gaps in his company’s suite: distribution services and customer relationship management tools. Yet the opportunities with both are dynamic, not static, because of fast shifts in hotel company priorities and traveler behaviors. That will require Alt to be one very adaptable executive.

Airline-Owned ARC Buys NuTravel to Connect Airlines With Travel Management Companies: Airlines are starting to realize that better communication with travel management companies can benefit both sides. ARC wants to play a major role in this period of transition.

Accor Taps Sabre for Pilot of Major Hotel Tech Project: Accor recently rebranded its loyalty program under the phrase “Live Limitless.” The company needs to replace its limited technology structure to meet that ambition, and this deal represents a huge commercial win for Sabre.

Wex Buys Enett From Travelport for $1.7 Billion in a Travel Payments Mashup: With this deal, Wex now becomes a powerhouse in assisting business-to-business travel payments worldwide. The deal also gives cash to seller Travelport, which might use the money to expand its airline tech offerings.

What’s Behind Barry Diller’s Patient Approach to Expedia? It increasingly looks like what we expected will happen will come true: Chairman Barry Diller is likely to make Expedia Group’s acting boss Peter Kern the permanent CEO. It’s very probable, too, that Diller is shopping the online agency giant to potential buyers. But who would buy?

Life House Raises $30 Million for Next-Gen Hotel Management: Travel Startup Funding This Week: A few startups receiving funding this week deserve props for trying to shake up travel. Life House is targeting a brand gap left by major hotel groups in some markets. ByHours raised funding for letting guests book stays of as little as three hours at partner hotels. Stasher offers a network of rentable storage spaces for travelers’ bags.

New Efforts to Bridge the Flight Booking Gap: The competitive balance has shifted in corporate travel as airlines have improved their booking tools. Some industry veterans are trying to better connect both sides of the equation.

A Look Ahead at Skift Forum Europe in Madrid: Skift Forum Europe will be our biggest event yet in the region. This year, we are thrilled to bring the event to Madrid, where a diverse set of speakers will share perspectives on why this next decade ahead is imperative for travel to safeguard its financial future, act more responsibly, and respond to shifts in the industry in a more nimble way.

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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Tripadvisor is restructuring in an effort to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded field. Shutterstock

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