Expedia CEO to Receive a $17 Million Award if He Hits Share-Price Mark - Digital - ·11h
Expedia’s new CEO is excited to be calling the shots at the big online travel company, and he has innumerable reasons to be motivated. Mark Okerstrom, who assumed the Expedia top job at the beginning of the month, has a big incentive to increase the company’s value: $17 million or more in performance-based stock options.

Twitter Wars With Competitors Can Be Effective Branding Tools for Airlines and Museums - Digital - 24 September 2017
Last week, two of the U.K.’s most venerated museums went to war on Twitter. It began during #AskACurator Day on Sept. 13, when experts from more than 1,500 museums around the world took to Twitter to answer questions. One user, a self-described “part-time silly sausage” named @Bednarz, started the fracas by asking, “Who would win in a staff battle between @sciencemuseum and @NHM_London, [and] what exhibits/items would help you be victorious?”

How Mergers and Acquisitions Are Accelerating Innovation in Travel - Digital - 22 September 2017
Companies today are under immense pressure to grow their core business, while at the same time, keep up with rapid changes in technology. This is especially true of those in the travel and hospitality industries. In addition to dealing with the typical challenges companies face, larger international players must adapt to local specificities while staying ahead of the curve.

Home Rental Platform Le Collectionist Raises $10 Million: Travel Startup Funding This Week - Digital - 22 September 2017
Le Collectionist, an upscale villa rental marketplace, raised $10 million in a Series A equity round of investment. The company had previously raised $2.2 million. The company has already spent some of the money by acquiring Bonder & Co., an Ibiza-based specialist in vacation rentals. Its 2,300 properties will be added to the group.

Skift Podcast: How London is Powering a Travel Startup Cluster - Digital - 21 September 2017
London and Partners, in partnership with The Trampery, opened The Travel Tech Lab in 2014 to create a global hub for innovation in travel, tourism and hospitality. Three years later, we’re taking a deeper look at London’s first incubator space focusing exclusively on the travel and technology industry.

Interview: Expedia CEO Sees an Opening With Chatbots to Loosen Google's Grip on Travel - Digital - 21 September 2017
Expedia Inc.’s new CEO Mark Okerstrom thinks the emergence of artificial intelligence, voice-based digital assistants, and chatbots could provide the fragmentation that would weaken Google’s dominance in online travel advertising. Okerstrom, in a phone interview with Skift on Wednesday, said Expedia is actively working with Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook on the evolution of travel search, and is “very interested” in collaborating with all of these players on travel applications or partnerships.

From Novelty to Game Changer: AI and The Future of Work in the Travel Industry - Digital - 20 September 2017
Artificial intelligence (AI) is usually imagined as a physical robot, but that’s a common misconception. AI lives inside different devices such as the Amazon Echo, the iPhone, smartwatches, and even mirrors. If you interact with voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, then you’re already using AI. People usually use this type of technology in their personal lives to complete simple tasks, such as ordering food, setting reminders, and sending messages. But AI is just as useful in the business world.

Expedia-Supported Despegar Prices IPO at $26 Per Share - Digital - 20 September 2017
Latin American online travel provider Despegar hopes to raise up to $332 million in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday as it priced its shares at $26 a share. When it goes public, as expected Wednesday, it would list under the symbol DESP. That’s at the high end of the price range it had planned for. It had said it hoped to raise $100 million in a securities filing this summer, but that number was a placeholder.

Priceline May Be Spending Less on Trivago and Changing Hotel Metasearch Dynamics - Digital - 20 September 2017
The Priceline Group, which accounted for 43 percent of hotel-search site Trivago’s revenue in the first nine months of 2016 — might be pulling back on digital advertising in such hotel-metasearch platforms. Trivago recently appears to have suffered a relative loss in advertising spend by Priceline Group-owned, in particular.

Expedia CEO Thinks the Company Is Too U.S.-Focused Unlike Its Biggest Rival - Digital - 19 September 2017
Travel booking giant Expedia Inc. has websites in more than 35 languages, makes at least 40 percent of its revenue outside the U.S. and has offices in 30 different countries. Still, that’s not global enough for new Chief Executive Officer Mark Okerstrom. Okerstrom, who took over at the end of August when Dara Khosrowshahi left to lead Uber Technologies Inc., wants to make Expedia a household name for European and Asian travelers looking for hotels in their own regions. Historically, Expedia has gotten the bulk of

U.S. Business Travelers Embrace Technology but Also Fear Its Impact - Digital - 19 September 2017
Business travelers want better technology to help them manage their trips. But not all are sold on the transformative capabilities of the new advancements that will likely shape the travel industry going forward. U.S. business travelers are among the most optimistic about artificial intelligence and big data making their trips better, according to the latest data from Egencia’s Business Travel and Technology Survey.

Tour Operator Context Nets $5 Million in Funding for Its Daunting Task of Scaling - Digital - 19 September 2017
Lots of small travel companies get relatively small amounts of fundings. By that measure, news that Context Travel, a provider of walking tours and activities based in Philadelphia, took in a $5 million in investment from a private equity firm isn’t that remarkable. But the deal becomes more notable when it is seen as being representative of something a bit larger: Many travel companies are wrestling with how to meet the demand for a curated selection of experience-heavy travel at scale.

Google Travel Is Worth $100 Billion - Even More Than Priceline - Digital - 18 September 2017
There’s no doubt that the Priceline Group is a juggernaut, but Skift Research calculates that Google’s travel business could be worth as much as $100 billion — and that would make it larger than Priceline with its $90 billion market cap. At $100 billion, Google’s travel business contributes about 15 percent to Google’s $650 billion market cap.

European Regulators Are Investigating Lufthansa's Controversial Travel Agent Surcharge - Digital - 18 September 2017
Lufthansa’s decision to introduce a fee for bookings made outside its websites and call centers predictably angered many in the travel industry, and it looks like their displeasure has caused regulators in the European Union to take a closer look at the practice. While the complaints against the $19 (€16) surcharge were first filed more than two years ago, it was only last week that the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, admitted that an investigation was taking place.

How Pinterest Helps Connect Brands to the Modern Female Traveler - Digital - 15 September 2017
Women today influence 85 percent of all travel purchasing decisions and account for 58 percent of all online sales, according to a Skift trends report. This has led to greater buying power behind the decisions made by female travelers than ever before. Women choosing to postpone marriage and start families later has also contributed to the fact that the amount of disposable income that women are allocating to travel is at an all time high.

Lola Pivots to Business Travel and Rebrands - Digital - 15 September 2017
Lola, the latest brainchild of Kayak co-founder Paul English, has quietly pivoted away from leisure travel to become a business travel booking tool. English announced the rebranding on Twitter Thursday, after hinting at the change during a conference appearance in May.

Priceline Bought Momondo and That Was Far Different From Ctrip's Skyscanner Acquisition - Digital - 15 September 2017
Unlike when Ctrip acquired Skyscanner, which was already quite profitable, Priceline buying Momondo was a much different type of acquisition. In 2016, the Momondo Group generated 90 million pounds in revenue with a 45 percent growth rate. However, it spent heavily on marketing and technology to grow, leading to a negative 9.6 percent operating margin. The pound has been volatile, but using the 2016 year-end rate of 1.23, revenue in U.S. dollars would have been $111 million.

Priceline's Booking Defends Commissions After Swiss Launch Probe Into 'Abusive' Pricing - Digital - 14 September 2017
Online travel giant is defending its policy on the commissions it charges in Switzerland after a state agency opened an investigation into alleged “abusive” pricing. Spokeswoman Leslie Cafferty of parent company Priceline Group says told the Swiss price watchdog in a June meeting that its commission rates were “appropriate” compared to competitors as well as rates charged in comparable countries. She did not specify those rates.

Skift Podcast: What to Expect From the New Expedia - Digital - 14 September 2017
Anyone who follows travel knows that Expedia has been making a lot of news lately. Now-former CEO Dara Khosrowshahi left to take the top job at Uber, and Expedia promptly promoted its CFO Mark Okerstrom to the chief executive position. At Skift, we’ve been all over this story since the news broke late one recent Sunday night, so we put together a team to do a newsy conference call in early September about Dara’s legacy, his replacement, Expedia’s financial performance, and the opportunities and challenges ahead.

New eBook: How to Create a Travel Policy that Employees Will Actually Read - Digital - 13 September 2017
Creating a travel policy that employees will want to read and engage with can be challenging––and the fact that most traditional travel policies are lengthy, detailed documents full of technical, legal jargon and prescriptive rules doesn’t help. Today’s travel managers and buyers should be thinking differently about how to deliver the information included in their travel policies. Studies show that humans are more likely to intake and retain information when it’s presented in a visually compelling way, and the recent growth of digital platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest reflects the direction our content consumption is moving in.

How the iPhone Changed the Way We Travel for Better or Worse - Digital - 12 September 2017
It is hard to believe that 10 years ago, most of us were cheerily tapping away at Blackberry Curves while the more technologically adventurous were entering into the era of mobile location, with the Nokia N95, one of the first phones to have a global positioning system. With the advent of the iPhone, format, user experience, and consumption were undoubtedly changed forever, which in turn changed the way we travel.

New Skift Research Report: A Deep Dive Into Priceline's Competitive Position in Travel 2017 - Digital - 12 September 2017
Today we are launching the latest report for our Skift Research subscribers, A Deep Dive Into Priceline’s Competitive Position in Travel 2017. In the first section of the report, we peer into each of one of the company’s brands, including, Kayak, Agoda,, OpenTable, and We discuss how’s decision to pursue an agency model helped fuel inventory growth and why’s margins are so much higher than others in the industry. We then provide our thoughts on the vacation rental market and how is positioned. Finally, we look at’s China partnership with Ctrip.

Google Sues to Block EU Antitrust Fine as Travel Probe Could Be on the Agenda - Digital - 11 September 2017
Google took its fight over a record European Union antitrust fine to the EU courts, starting a legal challenge that could take years to conclude. The owner of the world’s largest search engine said it filed its appeal on Monday at the EU’s General Court, based in Luxembourg. The tribunal’s press service said Google hadn’t asked the court to suspend an EU order for it to change how it displays shopping-search services before it rules on the challenge.

HotelTonight Outlook - Travel's Best and Brightest Have a Say on Its Prospects - Digital - 11 September 2017
HotelTonight burst on the scene nearly seven years ago as a unique and exquisite mobile- and tonight-only hotel booking app that spawned a host of competitors — startups and major players among them — all over the world. Skift tech editor Sean O’Neill traced HotelTonight’s evolution here, including its latest pivot into a hotel-booking service that enables guests to book hotels 100 days in advance.

Expedia IPO and Spin-Off History Sets Up Uber for a Deal-Making Era - Digital - 5 September 2017
Khosrowshahi's financial acumen will be crucial to Uber's turnaround, especially after just giving Uber an 18 to 26 month window to go public. The first step is to find a way to become profitable.-Andrew

Artificial Intelligence and Job Fears Lead to Calls for Universal Pay - Digital - 4 September 2017
Alaska already distributes an oil dividend to residents regardless of their work status. Now tourism-heavy Hawaii wants to explore the idea of a guaranteed universal income. The current way of doing things won’t be tomorrow’s way of doing things so it doesn’t hurt to explore creative ways of solving seeming-intractable problems.


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