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Skyscanner Is Seeing Growth in Its Hotel and Car Rental Business

skift.com - Digital - 24 July 2017
As the name suggests, Skyscanner has almost always been about flight metasearch but its latest set of results show how much it is improving its offering in other areas. The company collected revenues totalling $205.7 million (£158.3 million) in 2016, a rise of 44 percent on the previous year. Of this total the company’s hotel and car hire products made up 9 percent, up from 6 percent.
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Language App Competition Is Growing But the Best Features Aren't Free

skift.com - Digital - 22 July 2017
If you’re not careful about your pronunciation, it’s pretty easy to tell someone in France that you’re pregnant instead of saying you’re full. In Israel, you might ask someone to buy their daughter instead of buying a slice of bread. Saying you’re cold in German? It sounds a lot like saying you’re dead. Even those poor conjugation skills make all the difference between trying to say “Let’s get on with it” and “Let’s get it on!”
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The IRS May Crack Down on Airbnb and Uber Income and Unpaid Taxes

skift.com - Digital - 21 July 2017
Airbnb Inc. hosts and Etsy Inc. vendors who have avoided taxes on income from the sharing economy might have to start sharing more with the Internal Revenue Service. Federal rules don’t require such companies to withhold any income taxes on the payments they route to people who provide services or sell items via their online platforms. The companies do have to notify the IRS about some participants’ earnings — but only if they exceed $20,000 and conduct more than 200 transactions a year.

HNA Group Must Answer Questions About Collapse of Its Booking Startup Travana

skift.com - Digital - 21 July 2017
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co., already under scrutiny from local regulators, will also be probed as part of the U.S. bankruptcy of one of the companies it invested in. HNA Group’s dealings with San Francisco-based travel agency Travana Inc. will be investigated under bankruptcy law, which gives creditors the right to depose witnesses and seek internal records. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Hannah L. Blumenstiel approved the request in San Francisco court on Thursday over objections from the company’s board.
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Cash-Back Biz Travel App Raises $7 Million: Travel Startup Funding This Week

skift.com - Digital - 21 July 2017
The Austin, Texas-based company’s pitch is that it lets a person book work-related travel on their corporate card but get cash back on their personal card. The app also works for other retail purchases unrelated to travel. Travelers have to book through the app to get the cash back. Amounts of reward vary. Some recent deals included 5 percent of the purchase price back on Avis rental car rentals, and 18 percent back on the value of Hyatt hotel stays.

Smart Travel Companies Leverage Tech Giants Rather Than Fear Them

skift.com - Digital - 20 July 2017
A new white paper critiques today's industry mania for mergers, which is driven by a fear of rising digital gatekeepers such as Airbnb, Google, and Expedia. The contrarian take is refreshing but begs questions.-Sean

New Report Pities the Travel Executives Who Fear Tech Giants

skift.com - Digital - 20 July 2017
Management consultants famously borrow your watch to tell you the time. A possible case in point may be a new white paper created by the management consultancy A.T. Kearney and sponsored by travel technology giant Amadeus. The consultants quizzed external industry experts about how 70 trends — from nationalism to the rise of new programming standards — might change the distribution of airline and hotel inventory.
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Google Is Testing Vacation Rental Search in Its Hotel Price-Comparison Tool

skift.com - Digital - 20 July 2017
In the past month, some Google searches have been revealing an option to comparison-shop vacation rentals. In our checks Tuesday, Skift could find vacation rental filters for Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Madrid, Munich, Milan, Naples, Nice, Nuremberg, Paris, Palermo, Porto, Reims, Rome, Seville, and Venice.
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Priceline CEO: Hotels Secretly Love Us Despite Accusations of Monopoly

skift.com - Digital - 20 July 2017
Priceline Group expects to be a fast-growing company over the next few years, but that it is despite some hotel lobbying efforts which CEO Glenn Fogel characterized as a sideshow. Interviewed on Bloomberg TV outside of the Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2017 conference in Aspen, Colorado, which was broadcast Wednesday, Fogel draws a distinction between a hotel lobbying group and hotels themselves, which he implied liked Priceline Group practices just as they are.
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Travel Tech CEO Series: DerbySoft Prepares for a Hotel Distribution Free-for-All

skift.com - Digital - 18 July 2017
On any given day, the typical hotel sees between a third and half of its rooms filled by guests who booked their stays via third-party sites such as Booking.com, Expedia, and Ctrip. But the rise of digital distribution didn’t happen overnight, of course, and many companies powered the trend. One of the most representative and significant of these companies is DerbySoft, a Shanghai-based vendor of connectivity solutions to hotels.
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The New Machine-Learning Booking Tool for Road Warriors: Travel Startup Funding This Week

skift.com - Digital - 14 July 2017
Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. The companies we note this week have together raised more than $17 million. Comtravo, a Berlin-based startup, has received $9.7 million (or 8.5 million euro) in a Series A funding round after two years of development. The venture capital firms Project A and Creandum led the round.
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Travel Influencers Say YouTube is Still Their Sweet Spot

skift.com - Digital - 12 July 2017
Last month at VidCon, an annual global gathering of famous video creators and fans at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, every major player in social media announced new initiatives to embrace the next generation of viral video makers.Instagram showed off a feature that would let followers access a live stream for up to 24 hours. Instagram showed off a feature that would let followers access a live stream for up to 24 hours.

Kayak and Amazon Echo Now Offer Voice-Powered Hotel Booking

skift.com - Digital - 11 July 2017
It took online travel players like Kayak more than a decade to optimize price-comparison among dozens of sources in a way that appeals to millions of shoppers. Now, the rise of voice-based search poses a huge strategic challenge. Customer expectations may be shifting. The brevity that voice search requires incentivizes companies like Kayak to become recommendation or personalization engines that provide only a couple of possible optimal results. That’s a departure from the buffet-style approach that players like Kayak, Skyscanner, and Google have taken to date.

How Faster Search and Automation Can Help Power Performance for Travel Brands

skift.com - Digital - 11 July 2017
With texting, instant messaging, email, phone calls and website searches—sometimes going on all at once—the window to capture the attention of digital travelers is preciously narrow. And the explosion of low-cost mobile technologies now enables consumers to be online anytime, anywhere. Combine all this with the rising number of airlines, flights and airfare options around the globe, it’s the perfect storm.

Blockchain Will Disrupt Expedia and Airbnb, TUI CEO Says

skift.com - Digital - 11 July 2017
Will blockchain be the next Internet? Fritz Joussen, CEO of TUI Group, believes it will. “It takes away the monopoly of knowledge from a few platforms,” he said. Blockchain is the underlying technology behind Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency which currently has a market cap of some $45 billion. While Bitcoin was created to be a digital currency that eliminates the traditional middle-men in money, many argue that Bitcoin-derived blockchain technology is the the greater innovation of the two. Blockchain is essentially a distributed database to which data can only be appended, which means that historic data cannot be lost nor corrupted.
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Interview: TripAdvisor CEO on How Attractions and Restaurants Fit Into Overall Strategy

skift.com - Digital - 11 July 2017
Hotel revenue clearly remains critical to TripAdvisor’s long-term success. However, we believe that the non-hotel segment of the business has gone underreported. TripAdvisor’s Activities business is a bright spot both in terms of growth and profit potential. Content i.e. reviews and recommendations is the currency used to connect with travelers at the right time, the place, and the right product. Here is Kaufer on what the non-hotel segment means for the company and how TripAdvisor leverages content to engage travelers:
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Trump Administration Blocks Startup Visa Program Tech Companies Supported

skift.com - Digital - 10 July 2017
The Trump administration said it plans to rescind an Obama-era program that would allow foreign entrepreneurs who launch startup companies in the U.S. to live in the country, in the president’s latest effort to constrict immigration flows. Known as the International Entrepreneur Rule and favored by many in the technology industry, the program would allow non-U.S. citizens who launched companies that won $100,000 in government grants or received $250,000 in venture capital investment to stay in the U.S. for a renewable 30-month term. Finalized in the last days of the Obama administration, it was set to take effect July 17.
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Trivago Is Spending Three Times More Than TripAdvisor on U.S. TV Ads

skift.com - Digital - 6 July 2017
Will TripAdvisor be able to break through as it starts its TV campaigns around the world? Trivago has a big advantage. At this juncture in its life, Trivago is focused on gaining share while profit concerns take a back seat.-Dennis

Lastminute.com Group CEO: We Consider Ourselves a Media Company

skift.com - Digital - 28 June 2017
Lastminute.com Group chief executive Fabio Cannavale has spent the last 13 years transforming a small, low-cost flight search engine based in Italy into a pan-European travel company. Through a series of acquisitions, the company moved into new countries as well as new areas including package holidays and metasearch. The defining moment came in 2015 when Bravofly Rumbo Group, as it was then known, bought faded dot-com darling Lastminute.com for next to nothing from previous owner Sabre.
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New Research Report: The State of Consumer Payments in Travel 2017

skift.com - Digital - 27 June 2017
Payment methods continue to advance with technology. This is especially important for industries dealing with foreign currencies and different payment infrastructures. By its very nature, the travel industry is exposed to, arguably, every currency in the world. Therefore, enabling seamless and easy-to-use payments for consumers can be vital for businesses’ bottom line.

Google Slapped With Record $2.7 Billion EU Antitrust Fine for Biasing Search Results

skift.com - Digital - 27 June 2017
Google lost its biggest regulatory battle yet, getting a record 2.4 billion-euro ($2.7 billion) fine from European Union enforcers who say the search-engine giant skewed results in its favor to thwart smaller shopping search services. Alphabet Inc.’s Google has 90 days to “stop its illegal conduct” and give equal treatment to rival price-comparison services, according to a binding order from the European Commission on Tuesday. It’s up to Google to choose how it does this and it must tell the EU within 60 days of its plans. Failure to comply brings a risk of fines of up to 5 percent of its daily revenue.

Booking.com Is Expanding Beyond Hotels and Into Flights, Cars and Restaurants

skift.com - Digital - 27 June 2017
Booking.com is renowned for its hotel-only focus but its homepage now features tabs for flights from Kayak, car rentals from RentalCars.com, and restaurant reservations from OpenTable, all sister companies owned by parent company Priceline Group. The new tabs on the Booking.com homepage on desktop may not be visible to all users and they are a test to see how they perform, according to a spokesperson for Priceline Group.

German Hotel Booking Giant HRS Tilts Further Toward Corporate Travel

skift.com - Digital - 27 June 2017
This summer is a pivotal time for HRS, Germany’s largest home-grown online travel agency and corporate hotel booking specialist. In July, the new HRS headquarters, next to Cologne’s main train station, is slated to be finished. The new building will enable the 1,500-employee company to increase its Cologne staff. The fresh hiring will reflect a rebalanced set of priorities.
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Keypr Unlocks $19 Million for Hotel Keyless Entry: Travel Startup Funding This Week

skift.com - Digital - 23 June 2017
Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. The total raised this week was more than $41.5 million. Keypr, a startup that helps hotels offer mobile check-ins, keyless room entry, and mobile-requested room service, has closed a $19 million Series A funding round, led by Karlani Capital.

TripAdvisor's Review Investigators Identified Huge Travel-Robocall Scam for the FCC

skift.com - Digital - 22 June 2017
TripAdvisor’s internal security and Internet fraud team usually busies itself probing sketchy user reviews from the hotel or restaurant competitor down the street or credit card abuse, but the investigators played a key role in helping the U.S. Federal Communications Commission track down an alleged travel-robocall scam that led to potentially the largest enforcement action in the regulator’s history.
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TripAdvisor in the Age of Platforms Tries the Full-Service Model

skift.com - Digital - 22 June 2017
Last week, Skift Research launched the second edition of our analysis of TripAdvisor, this one the Deep Dive Into TripAdvisor’s Competitive Position In Travel 2017. We focus on TripAdvisor because no other marketplace rolls up as many travel products, services and content under one brand. In this time of tech disruption and consolidation, travel is getting pulled into the vortex of platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and others. So what can TripAdvisor’s strategy teach us about the future of online travel?

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