Skift Take

When it comes to brainstorming, there's no substitute for a Skift reporter ambling over to a Skift Research analyst's desk, and shooting the breeze about Oyo's model, or looking over a shoulder to view on screen how Expedia's marketing spend is trending. That dynamic is really tough to replicate on Zoom.

Series: Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Executive Editor and online travel rockstar Dennis Schaal will bring readers exclusive reporting and insight into the business of online travel and digital booking, and how this sector has an impact across the travel industry.

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Online Travel Riffs Trivago's Axel Hefer and Lola's Paul English Talk Innovation It's a vexing question for online travel and tech executives during the pandemic and its aftermath: How do companies nurture the innovation gene? While they may agree on a lot, Trivago CEO Axel Hefer and Kayak and Lola co-founder Paul English offered Skift conflicting views on how to maximize innovation when so many companies are opting for their employees to work from home into the future, or are still unready to return to corporate offices. Trivago's staff will return to its Dusseldorf, Germany headquarters for one week per month, starting next week, Hefer said, because brainstorming and generating feedback are more difficult in a virtual environment. Zoom calls don't work as well as in-person meetings because people pause when someone else speaks, inhibiting the flow, and participants can't use all of their senses, Hefer said. Remote work also inhibits team-building in terms of enabling new hires to get to know the rest of the staff when many employees may have been working together for years. Like it does with advertising and website design, Hefer said Trivago will test and learn from the one week per month experiment when everyone is in the office to gauge the optimum office versus remote work balance. "Clearly no one knows" the correct tradeoff, he said, adding that it may depend on the composition of each team. When the pandemic struck