Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Online Travel

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

2 months 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

Marriott Has Fallen Victim to Another Cyber Attack

3 months 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

Marriott’s Vacation Rentals Unit Expands Down Under

3 months ago

Homes & Villas by Marriott International has just expanded into Australia and New Zealand, marking the vacation rental operation’s debut in the Asia Pacific region.

The move adds more than 350 upscale homes to its network. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Orange in Australia and Auckland and Queenstown in New Zealand.

Marriott has been on a big expansion push for Homes & Villas, with 30-fold growth since 2019 to more than 50,000 units.

Listen to Homes & Villas Vice President Jennifer Hsieh explain the company’s strategy via the Skift Podcast: How Hotels and Short-Term Rentals Fit Together.

Hotels

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Announces New CEO

4 months ago

Marriott Vacations Worldwide said on Thursday that CEO Stephen Weisz will retire at year-end and that current president, John E. Geller, Jr., will assume the role of president and CEO on January 1, 2023.

Weisz served in the role of CEO since the company spun out in 2011. He notably led the 2018 acquisition of ILG and the rollout of a guest loyalty program.

Geller has been president since 2021 and was previously the company’s chief financial officer. He also helped lead the spin-off of the company from Marriott International in 2011 and played a key role in the acquisition of ILG.

Hotels

Marriott Suspends Operations in Russia

4 months ago

Marriott International stated Friday that it is suspending operations in Russia following new U.S., UK, and European Union sanctions over the Ukraine war.

In March, despite operating in Russia for the last 25 years, Marriott International closed its corporate office in Russia and announced it would suspend opening new hotels — but the steps fell short of the overall suspension that Marriott announced today.

“As we take steps to suspend hotel operations in Russia, we remain focused on taking care of our Russia-based associates,” Marriott stated. “Since the war began, we have supported associates in Ukraine, Russia and across the region, including securing employment with Marriott outside of countries directly affected by the conflict. We have deployed $1 million in internal disaster relief funds for associates and their families to assist with resettlement aid, including food vouchers, transportation assistance, medical, and legal support.”

Marriott operated 28 hotels in Russia that are owned by third-parties.

Many travel firms withdrew from Russia at the onset of its invasion of Ukraine, but many major hotel chains kept operating.

Hotels

Marriott Partners With Alipay In China on Bonvoy Perks

4 months ago

Marriott International has signed a new partnership with China’s Ant Group, which owns online payment platform Alipay, to help it drive more business in the region.

Marriott will now give Alipay members a range of benefits when they sign up to Marriott’s loyalty program Bonvoy, including digital coupons for an afternoon tea at its hotels, or the chance to enter a lucky draw by spending at the hotel.

Breakfast promotions are also offered at various cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Sanya.

The tie-up is the latest deal in its plan to leverage loyalty to bolster its presence in across Asia.

The hotel group already has a joint venture with e-commerce giant Alibaba in China. Marriott considers its storefront on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel division where it sells its global hotel inventory, to be a direct-booking channel with costs that are lower than going through online travel agency distribution.

Marriott said this latest Alipay partnership is in addition to the 10-plus million newly-enrolled members the company has gained through various channels since 2017 in China, including through Fliggy, as well as other Ant initiatives.

Marriott International has 450 operating hotels across 23 brands in Greater China.

“To support the recovery of the travel industry, we are looking to offer exclusive travel experiences for high-net-worth members using Alipay,” said Henry Lee, President, Greater China, Marriott International.

Marriott has previously launched Korea’s first-ever co-branded hotel credit cards, and two new co-branded cards have also been launched in Japan.

“Marriott Bonvoy really is at the heart of our consumer strategy and we are doing everything we can to grow the program,” Bart Buiring, chief sales and marketing officer for Asia Pacific at Marriott International, previously said.

Hotels

Marriott CEO Tony Capuano Sees “Extraordinary Pricing”

4 months ago

Marriott International CEO Anthony Capuano sat down with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the 2022 World Economic Forum to discuss what the company is seeing in travel demand.

  • Capuano says revenue-per-room is off the charts.
  • Margins were back to 2019 levels in April in the U.S., which represents about 70 percent of its business.
  • Optimism is deserved because international tourism will boost demand further once pandemic restrictions are loosened.
  • In the U.S., Marriott is back to the same level of open positions as in 2019.

Take a look and listen:

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