Skift Travel News Blog

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

Travel Technology

Software Developer Makes AI Travel Itinerary Tool

4 days ago

During her Christmas holiday, a software developer created a tool to generate and map travel itineraries using generative artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Australia-based developer, Katrin Schmid, posted on Linkedin about the tool she made, called Journeai. It is powered by the generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, released last year by OpenAi, a San Francisco-based AI research lab that has gotten at least $2 billion in investment.  

This new subset of AI can generate a new, unique product based on specific rules it’s given, a big leap ahead of the limited way AI has historically used existing datasets to draw conclusions and make predictions. 

OpenAi’s ChatGPT can already create a personalized travel itinerary within seconds. The Journeai tool uses that capability and adds the interactive mapping component through Google Maps — showing how easy it can be to solve a notable issue with generative AI, which is the lack of details like time, date, and geolocation. 

Despite the bugs with generative AI that users continue to point out, this is an early example of how the technology is expected to shake up the travel industry, starting with travel marketing, travel agents, and tour operators. 

There is more to come. 

“By the end of the year, you won’t be able to tell the difference between human production and AI production,” said travel industry consultant Peter Syme in a recent interview with Skift

“Every single tourism business, from a hotel to a tour operator to the most prominent companies, has access to the same power from a content production point of view. Therefore, tour operators should adopt quickly and not lag to ensure the biggest advantage.”

Airlines

American Airlines Sues Sabre for 11 Years of Legal Fees

2 months ago

Following a legal battle that lasted 11 years, American Airlines Group wants to force defendant Sabre Corp to pay its legal fees. 

U.S. law firm O’Melveny & Myers filed a lawsuit on behalf of American Airlines on Friday, saying the Texas-based global distribution system should pay American’s fees.

Those fees could amount to at least tens of millions of dollars. The 11-year litigation included two trials and an appeal. The filing did not identify an amount, but a O’Melveny partner previously said in court that the fees were “very, very substantial.”

American Airlines was awarded $1 in May as the winner of an antitrust trial against Sabre.

The dispute was over practices Sabre used to force airlines to use its services, and prevent carriers from reaching out to travel agents and business travelers more directly. American inherited the case when it acquired US Airways in 2013. US Airways had sued Sabre in 2011.

The result in May found that Sabre’s practices did not cause American Airlines any financial harm.

Friday’s filing shows that the two companies tried to resolve the fee dispute without involving the court but did not reach an agreement.

Travel Technology

Former Sabre CEO Sam Gilliland Hired to Lead Airline Software Company Accelya

3 months ago

Sam Gilliland, who was the CEO of Sabre Corporation for 10 years, is taking the top role at Accelya.

The Spanish company, which makes software for the airline industry, said Monday that Gilliland has been hired as CEO. Gilliland replaces Jim Davidson, who is stepping into the role of vice chairman.

Accelya was acquired in 2019 by Vista Equity Partners, a software investment fund. Through that investment, Accelya bought Farelogix in 2020. Accelya has more than 250 airline clients and nearly 2,500 employees. 

Most recently, Gilliland was the CEO of Cherwell Software, a Colorado company owned by Ivanti that makes information technology software for corporations.

Gilliland had spent 25 years at Sabre, starting as a software engineer. He was named chairman and CEO of Sabre in 2003 and exited in the role in 2013. Skift had named him one of the highest paid executives in travel while he was there. He had led more than 10,000 employees in 60 countries. 

Travel Technology

Accor Subsidiary D-Edge Acquires Digital Marketing Company to Expand Services

3 months ago

The hotel tech services company owned by hotel giant Accor is strengthening its offerings through the acquisition of a digital marketing agency. 

Accor-owned D-Edge said this week that it has acquired Equaero, a Paris company that uses a proprietary software platform for marketing campaign tracking and reporting. 

Equaero is now a wholly owned subsidiary of D-Edge. It will continue being led by its founder and CEO, Jean-Dominique Brivet, who will report to D-Edge CEO Pierre-Charles Grob. All Equaero employees are expected to maintain their roles, according to a D-Edge spokesperson.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

D-Edge’s hotel offerings include central reservation software, a guest management system and more. The company has historically offered some digital advertising services to hotels through a partnership with Equaero. With the acquisition, those capabilities will become in-house services that D-Edge offers. 

Equaero has experience in digital strategy for very large accounts, which will be helpful as D-Edge further develops services for hotel chains, the company said. 

“As online sales continue to grow in the hotel industry, D-Edge — through its website development and digital media offerings — is already helping hoteliers drive more traffic to their websites and convert this traffic into more direct bookings,” D-Edge said in a statement. “By adding new capabilities and talents, D-Edge completes its service offering — [search engine optimization] to name just one — and provides hoteliers with an exhaustive, multi-channel digital marketing range of services.”

Accor formed D-Edge five years ago after two acquisitions. Grob said earlier this year that D-Edge roughly doubled its number of independent hotel customers during the pandemic, from 6,500 non-Accor hotels in July 2019 to more than 12,500 in April.

Airlines

EasyJet Partners with Datalex to Personalize Fare Options

5 months ago

Datalex, a Dublin-based tech company, partnered with easyJet to up the airline’s game in merchandising to travelers and the customer experience.

EasyJet offers passengers Standard, Standard Plus, and Essentials fares, as well as add-ons such as extra legroom.

EasyJet fare types. Source: EasyJet

A Datalex spokesperson said this new digital retail partnership with the airline would enable EasyJet to “personalize fare families and bundles,” and give passengers “additional ancillary options.”

Among airlines, Datalex already works with Virgin Australia, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Air China, and Air Transat. 

Short-Term Rentals

Airbnb House Party Tech Steers Some Guests Toward Hotels and Private Rooms

5 months ago

Life is often a series of tradeoffs, right? Such is the case for Airbnb, which is testing new anti-house party technology in the U.S. and Canada that would steer some potential guests barred from booking whole homes toward private rooms and hotel stays instead.

Kevin Krejci A house party at an Airbnb rental in San Francisco on April 23, 2013 for Mesh San Francisco. Source: Kevin Krejci/Flickr https://bit.ly/3KgxnKV

“This anti-party technology is designed to prevent a reservation attempt from going through,” Airbnb stated in its press announcement about the technology, which had been piloted in Australia since 2021. “Guests who are unable to make entire home bookings due to this system will still be able to book a private room (where the Host is more likely to be physically on site) or a hotel room through Airbnb.”

 House parties have been a huge problem for Airbnb — and communities — for years.

Airbnb bans them and has for the last couple of years been conducting manual reviews of guests younger than 25 who might have few positive reviews from hosts on the site, or may be booking a home near where they live for just one night or two, for example.

With the tech that Airbnb has is testing in the U.S. and Canada, the manual review still happens after a booking is made, but Airbnb’s tech now looks at additional signals, may review people older than 25, and redirects many of them to optionally book hotel rooms, and private rooms in homes.

Many hotels, of course, wouldn’t welcome guests intent on conducting parties, but there is usually more security and other personnel to ward off problems than there is in a vacation rental where the host is usually not present.

Hosts apparently wanted less of a sledgehammer blocking all these types of potential house-party bookings, and the ability to accept bookings where the chance for a house party would be greatly reduced, such as when hosts are present during the stay.

“We have seen a 35 percent drop in incidents of unauthorized parties in the areas of Australia where this pilot has been in effect,” Airbnb said. “We are now ending the pilot phase in Australia and codifying this product nationwide. We are hoping for similar success as we begin testing this in the U.S. and Canada.”

Short-Term Rentals

Dtravel Claims First Short-Term Rental Booking Using Blockchain and Smart Contracts

6 months ago

Dtravel said it is now taking crypto bookings for short-term rentals on a blockchain using smart contracts to process bookings directly between hosts and guests.

In fact, Dtravel, which describes itself as “a web3 direct booking tool,” said it facilitated the “first” hospitality booking on blockchain using a smart contact between UK host Amir Sadjady and a guest. Here are Sadjady’s listings.

short-term rental Travel
A short-term rental listing in London on Dtravel, which uses a blockchain and smart contracts. Dtravel.

Skift couldn’t independently vertify whether this is indeed a “first.”

Smart contracts automatically execute certain actions between the parties and lead to “lower transaction costs (than on online travel agencies), greater payment finality and non-custodial payments.”

A look at one of Sadjady’s London listings shows the nightly rate, a cleaning fee, a damage deposit, and a Dtravel platform fee amounting to around 4.3 percent of the nightly rate. If a guest pays with crypto the platform fee disappears, and if the guest uses a credit card the platform fee must be paid.

Dtravel said 5 percent of the tranacation goes to a community treasury. “However, these fees are being returned to hosts in the form of TRVL rewards, which is Dtravel’s native token, during the beta period,” the company said.

The company claims to have hundreds of available listings using smart contracts.

Dtravel said it was founded by former executives of major online travel agencies, and it has received $7.5 million in funding.

Filters

Tags

travel-tech

Clear Filters