Skift Take

Today's edition of Skift's daily podcast looks closer at Agoda’s competitive edge, Hostaway’s funding, and what travel leaders are saying about AI.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, June 1. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern recently accused rival online travel agency Agoda of undercutting the nightly rates posted on official hotel websites, and that’s anathema to hotels. So how has Agoda been able to discover cheaper rates? Executive Editor Dennis Schaal explains how in his weekly Online Travel Briefing. 

Schaal includes a video of then-Agoda CEO John Brown at Skift Forum East in 2019 detailing his company’s mindset on hotel prices. Brown said the company has the responsibility to customers to find the cheapest hotel rates found online even though that caused friction with hoteliers. A spokesperson from Booking Holdings, Agoda’s parent company, said Agoda gets many different rates by contact from its partners. But Kern of Expedia said many hotels don’t realize how their rates are being mishandled. Schaal adds that Expedia has a tech tool that helps hotels weed out rates appearing in unauthorized outlets. 

Next, generative artificial intelligence — which includes the creation of images, audio and video — could fundamentally change travel. So how do prominent executives in the travel industry view this emerging form of technology? Travel Technology Reporter Justin Dawes features several companies’ plans for generative AI in his weekly Travel Tech Briefing.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is among the growing group of travel executives bullish on the potential for generative AI. He said the company could use the technology to learn more about prospective guests in a personal manner. In addition, Damian Scokin, the CEO of Argentina-based online travel agency Despegar, said his company sees opportunities for generative AI in areas such as software development and customer service. 

Finally, Miami-based vacation rental software platform Hostaway has raised $175 million in funding, with the aim of expanding globally, writes Short-Term Rental Reporter Srividya Kalyanaraman. 

Kalyanaraman reports that Hostaway also plans to use the funds to increase staffing and seek opportunities to expand market share. Hostaway recently launched a GhatGPT-powered artificial intelligence tool, which the company aims to manage listings. It also signed a distribution partnership with global travel technology provider Amadeus earlier this year. 


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Tags: agoda, artificial intelligence, expedia, expedia group, generative ai, Hostaway, skift podcast

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