Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Travel Technology

Cendyn Buys DigitalHotelier to Expand Hotel Ecommerce and Distribution Tools

1 week ago

Cendyn, which offers customer relationship management and digital marketing tools to hotels, said on Wednesday it had acquired DigitalHotelier, which provides hoteliers with tools for distribution, web design, digital marketing, and rate-setting.

The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal. The London-based Digitalhotelier was a bootstrapped company of a few dozen workers. It saw a reduction in its business development staff during the pandemic.

The acquisition helps Florida-based Cendyn expand its distribution and eCommerce capabilities, which help hoteliers drive more direct bookings. But probably as importantly, it helps Cendyn reach more customers in Europe.

Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity firm based in Silicon Valley, is a majority owner of Cendyn.

“Our mission at Cendyn is to provide hoteliers around the globe with innovative technology solutions that enable deeper, more profitable guest relationships,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO and president at Cendyn, in a statement.

Official Cendyn announcement

Online Travel

Google Travel Grabs Larger Share of U.S. Desktop Traffic During Pandemic

2 weeks ago

Google Travel’s flight and hotel offerings gained the most desktop traffic market share in the U.S. during the pandemic while Tripadvisor lost the most on a percentage basis, according to Similarweb’s June data.

“Google Travel now owns one-fourth of all (U.S.) desktop visits to top travel sites,” Similarweb said.

Similarweb

In its earnings call about second quarter financials Tuesday, Google said travel and retail were the drivers of its advertising revenue during the period.

The following chart shows Google Travel’s U.S. desktop market share increased 6 percentage points to 24 percent in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of pre-pandemic 2019.

U.S. Desktop Market Share Traffic Gains/Losses H1 2019 Versus H1 2022

Site20192022
Google Travel18%24%
Booking.com14%16%
Airbnb14%15%
Expedia13%13%
Southwest6%6%
Vrbo4%6%
Marriott5%5%
Delta8%4%
TripAdvisor9%4%

Source: Simillarweb

“Booking has also gained 2 percentage points of share in the U.S., and only Kayak (-1 percentage point), Delta (-4 percentage points), and TripAdvisor (-5 percentage points) have lost share,” Similarweb said.

There are two points to keep in mind: These numbers don’t include traffic from mobile devices, and traffic to Google Travel often gets sent along to online travel agency advertisers.

Hotels

Hotel Tech Vendor Mews Launches Investment Arm

2 weeks ago

Salesforce-backed Mews has launched a dedicated investment arm called Mews Ventures.

The company, which provides enterprise software to hotels with what’s commonly known as a property management system, or PMS, said it wants to help shape the future of hospitality.

Mews Ventures will focus on three areas: transformation, partnerships and product boosts.

Mews founder Richard Valtr said the new venture reflected its series of acquisitions over the past two years, which includes Cenium, Hotel Perfect and Bizzon.

“By bringing together the brightest minds in tech, hospitality and beyond, we aim to fuel growth and innovation,” he wrote in a blog post.

The new investment arm will “accelerate the technological transformation of our industry by consolidating past leaders as well as boosting new and interesting ideas in hospitality, connecting the best people and technology with the growing Mews community.”

Mews employs 600 people in 15 locations around the world.

Hotels

Saudi Arabia Taps New $400 Million Fund to Help Build Ennismore Branded Lifestyle Hotels

2 weeks ago

Saudi Arabia’s tourism development fund said it would help invest in the building of lifestyle hotels in the kingdom through a new hotel investment fund worth $400 million (1.5 billion Saudi riyals) that Al Rajhi Capital will manage.

Ennismore, a lifestyle hospitality joint venture with Accor, will pinpoint locations, provide financing options, and lead the development and operation of these projects, which will create about 2,000 hotel rooms.

Ennismore didn’t specify which of its 14 brands — which includes 25hours, The Hoxton, Delano, Gleneagles, Mama Shelter, Mondrian, Morgans Originals, and 21c Museum Hotel — will appear in the kingdom.

Saudi’s tourism development fund (TDF), created in 2020, has $4 billion to drive tourism growth in the kingdom.

Ennismore was founded by co-CEO Sharan Pasricha, who will be speaking at Skift Global Forum in New York.

Hotels

Tokyo’s Toggle Hotel Brings Color to Bleisure Trend

4 weeks ago

One of the most talked about trends in travel has been how many people are merging business with leisure in “workcations” or “bleisure.” The Toggle Hotel in Tokyo caught our eyes for how it brings the concept of blended hospitality to life.

The Toggle Hotel has painted most of its interiors in only two colors, accentuating how guests can toggle between leisure and business. Located by the Suidōbashi train station in Chiyoda City, the property has painted each floor in a different pair of colors.

Continuing with its theme of blurring boundaries, the hotel has placed its lobby on the top floor. People start their stay with skyline views and can enjoy a break in a cafe — also painted in only two colors.

Klein Dytham Architecture is the firm behind the project.

The Toggle Hotel

Hotels

North American Travelers Rebuke Hotels on Quality Issues, Says JD Power Survey

4 weeks ago

A lot of hotel guests are dissatisfied with customer service and costs, according to study released on Wednesday by JD Power, a market research firm.

A survey of 34,407 hotel guests for stays between May 2021 and May 2022 found a higher level of complaints than the previous comparable period.

Many consumers appear to be irritated about costs and fees, room cleanliness, and staffing. The results come against a backdrop of a hotel sector struggling to handle the post-pandemic surge in demand during a labor crisis.

Key takeaways involve the interplay of cost and quality in consumers’ minds:

  • “The single biggest factor driving this year’s 8-point decline in overall satisfaction is hotel cost and fees.”
  • Guest satisfaction with budget and “upper-midscale” properties fell 11 points, the largest decline in years.
  • “Another factor driving the decline is satisfaction with guest rooms, which suggests that hotel guests are feeling like they are paying more, but not getting more in return.”
  • “While hotels still get relatively high satisfaction scores for guest room cleanliness, scores for décor and furnishings, in-room amenities and quality of bathrooms decline from a year ago.”

JD Power's North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study

Hotels

Marriott Has Fallen Victim to Another Cyber Attack

1 month ago

Hotel giant Marriott International has suffered a data breach, with hackers stealing 20 gigabytes of sensitive information, including guests’ credit card information.

In 2020, Marriott notified 5 million guests their information was compromised through an app used to provide services at hotels.

This event is on a smaller scale, as according to a report by DataBreaches the incident, which took place in June, saw an as-yet unidentified group claim they used “social engineering” — where hackers trick someone into performing an action or divulging confidential information — to access a computer at the BWI Airport Marriott Maryland.

The hotel is described as “modern, convenient and superbly situated” and is a popular layover for flight crews — leaked documents include reservations made by airlines for their employees.

Names and details of other guests, including credit card information used to make bookings, have also been leaked, and Marriott is reportedly notifying up to 400 individuals of the attack, although it’s unclear if they are mostly guests or Marriott’s own staff.

“Marriott International is aware of a threat actor who used social engineering to trick one associate at a single Marriott hotel into providing access to the associate’s computer. The threat actor did not gain access to Marriott’s core network,” a Marriott spokesperson told TechCrunch.

It is unclear whether ransom money was demanded.

Earlier this month Israel’s Gol Tours Ltd suffered a cyber attack that saw 30,000 profiles leaked.

UPDATE: In a statement to Skift on Thursday, a Marriott International spokesperson said:

“Marriott International is aware of a threat actor who used social engineering to trick one associate at a single Marriott hotel into providing access to the associate’s computer. The threat actor did not gain access to Marriott’s core network. Our investigation determined that the information accessed primarily contained non-sensitive internal business files regarding the operation of the property. The incident was contained to a short period of time. Marriott identified and was investigating the incident before the threat actor contacted the company in an extortion attempt, which Marriott did not pay. The company is preparing to notify 300-400 individuals regarding the incident. Marriott has also notified law enforcement and is supporting their investigation.”

Hotels

Accor’s Planned Leadership Re-Org May Invite Speculation About Eventual Asset Sale

1 month ago

Accor’s board said on Tuesday the company wants to simplify its organizational structure to create two business units. The move, which raises questions about possible divestitures, has been sent to employee representative bodies for their approval.

The two business units would be an “economy, midscale, and premium” division for 4,816 hotels representing brands such as ibis, Novotel, Mercure, Swissôtel, Mövenpick, and Pullman. It will have four regional headquarters based in Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore, and Shanghai.

Another division would be for “luxury and lifestyle.” It would get four brand collections that together have 488 hotels: Raffles & Orient Express, Fairmont, Sofitel & MGallery, and Ennismore.

“By evolving from a generalist to a multi-specialist model, our aim is to further improve Accor’s appeal in the eyes of talents, owners, partners, and investors,” Sébastien Bazin, the group’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that didn’t mention any cost savings.

Cue the inevitable questions about whether this planned restructuring makes it easier for Accor to spin off a part of its company to an acquiring investor.

Accor CEO Sebastien Bazin at Skift Forum Europe 2022.
Accor CEO Sebastien Bazin in conversation with Skift CEO and founder Rafat Ali at Skift Forum Europe in London on March 24, 2022.

“We would also expect this makes a break-up more likely longer-term, where different owners may be different in the varying merits of the two divisions,” wrote the research analysts at Bernstein in a flash note to clients.

Analysts at Bernstein also note: “It makes sense that the two divisions will have different long-term models (franchise vs managed), different target owners (“mom & pop” vs sovereign wealth funds), and different customers (international vs domestic).”

Pity the executives at Swissôtel, though. They must be asking themselves, “Why aren’t we luxurious enough?”

In a move that was no surprise, the board also endorsed the renewal of the contract of Bazin as the group’s chairman and CEO.

See the Accor press release

Travel Technology

Amadeus Launches Market Forecasting Tool for Hoteliers

1 month ago

Amadeus said on Wednesday that it had launched a market forecast capability “to help hoteliers accurately track revenue and manage costs.” The tool is part of its business intelligence software suite, RevenueStrategy360, for hotels that it expanded after its acquisition of TravelClick several years ago.

“Most tools today look at historical data, but ours focuses on forward-looking data,” said Katie Moro, vice president of data partnerships. “We track on-the-books reservations data from companies that both use our services and those that don’t. We blend it with historical seasonality and trends.”

Moro spoke from Orlando at the trade show HITEC (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference).

More than half of hotel bookings are being made within a week of travel, Moro said, citing data for bookings being made across all channels for about 35,000 hotels globally using Amadeus’s business intelligence software. So many revenue managers at hotels have shorter windows to make decisions on rates, promotions, and allocating inventory.

Amadeus’ forward-looking data shows global hotel bookings are on par with 2019 and surging.

“We’re tracking on a weekly basis hotel reservations coming in, less cancellations,” Moro said. “For the week ending June 17, we saw an increase of about half a million reservations over the week prior. We had also seen a huge spike ahead of Memorial Day, so it’s possible this increased demand is for the July holidays.”

Hotels

Travelers Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Fossil Fuel Emissions — Sustainability Expert

1 month ago

Although a rising number of consumers have expressed a desire to travel more sustainably in recent years, one travel executive believes guilt is not an appropriate emotion when thinking fossil fuels emitted while traveling.

Michel Gelobter, a sustainability expert and CEO Cooler, said — during a discussed tilted “The Business Advantage of Sustainability” — at Skift Sustainable Tourism Summit on Wednesday that while reducing the use of fossil fuels would help improve travel, travelers shouldn’t bear the responsibility for making that happen.

“The people who really have to change are the ones emitting fossil fuels directly,” Gelobter said. “Radisson doesn’t have control over the smoke stacks (and) the power of their hotels.”

But Gelobter urged consumers to push suppliers, supply chains and policy makers to drive fossil fuels out of the market and run on clean energy.

“If you turn off your house in a good way, many forms of travel actually (have a) lower footprint than staying home, depending on where you live.”

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