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Travelers Are Open to the Internet of Things, Yet Privacy Concerns Persist

skift.com - Digital - 17 November 2017
Connected technologies ranging from wearable devices, chatbots, connected appliances and autonomous vehicles are becoming increasingly integrated into our daily lives. These technologies offer significant value when it comes to how we travel, for example when booking flights and hotels, arranging ground transportation, recommending restaurants, tracking weather, and effortlessly planning itineraries.
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Hostmaker Raises $15 Million for Short-Term Rental Management: Travel Startup Funding This Week

skift.com - Digital - 17 November 2017
Sansiri, a Thai real estate developer, and Gaw Capital, a Hong Kong-based real estate investor, led the round. The latest round brings the startup’s total funding to $25 million since it was founded in 2014 by Nakul Sharma. It has 149 employees.

How Today's Top Travel Marketers Think About Customer Engagement

skift.com - Digital - 16 November 2017
Consumers today value deep, rich, and fulfilling travel experiences more than ever before. This shift in values is driving the growth of travel spending, and today’s brands are stepping up to help travelers connect and become a part of something greater than themselves. Oath recently partnered with the Advertising Club of New York to bring together travel industry leaders to discuss how they’re connecting with consumers beyond the transaction.
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Google Earbuds With Real-Time Translation Aren't Much More Than a Gimmick

skift.com - Digital - 16 November 2017
When Google first showed off its Google Pixel Buds product with real-time translation functionality, it seemed like the device could be a powerful tool for global travelers. Instant translations delivered by Google Assistant and Google Translate right to a traveler’s ears is something of a killer-app in theory. In practice, however, technological limitations prove the focus on translation is more of a clever marketing gimmick for the lackluster device instead of a transformational feature for travelers.
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Video: Facebook Chief Creative Officer Thinks Virtual Reality Is a Low Priority

skift.com - Digital - 16 November 2017
Virtual reality has earned a lot of buzz even as travel companies struggle to make the most out of the technology. Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s chief creative officer, doesn’t think they should struggle all that much. Speaking at Skift Global Forum this fall, he said virtual reality is valuable to a degree.

Announcing the 2018 Digital Transformation Report

skift.com - Digital - 15 November 2017
Digital is eating the world. No matter what your role in the travel industry, the question is when, not if, your business will be affected. Our annual digital transformation report, released in partnership with Adobe, is an effort to show how businesses are preparing for this digital transformation. Sign up now to receive your complimentary copy when the report launches in December.-Dawn

Online Travel Plunge Spurs Investor Wariness

skift.com - Digital - 10 November 2017
Investors wiped out about $20 billion worth of market capitalization of publicly held online travel companies since Expedia, Priceline, TripAdvisor, and Trivago posted their third quarter earnings results in the past few weeks. The selloff was sector-specific to the online travel companies, with hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and other travel and non-travel companies not seeing the same drops.
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Lastminute.com Group Buys Hotelscan to Diversify Metasearch Offering

skift.com - Digital - 8 November 2017
Lastminute.com Group has bought Switzerland-based metasearch site Hotelscan for an undisclosed figure. The deal will help Lastminute.com Group broaden its offering by adding more accommodation providers. Its main brand Jetcost, is primarily focused on flights. Hotelscan, which collects data from more than 100 online booking sites, had previously raised $10.2 million (€8.75 million) in four rounds of funding, according to Crunchbase.

TripAdvisor CEO Was Coy About Pullback in Meta Advertising Business

skift.com - Digital - 7 November 2017
After posting weak results in the third quarter, particularly from its hotel booking product, TripAdvisor executives were tight-lipped on the effects of its biggest advertising partners shifting share to other channels. It seems like a new normal is in effect as advertising auctions have become less profitable, although executives believe a widespread shift has yet to happen. “With respect to the bid downs, we’ve run this auction for so many years, [so] there’s always a fair amount of month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter [movement],” said TripAdvisor president and CEO Stephen Kaufer on the company’s earnings call Tuesday.
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Trivago Looks to HomeAway Vacation Rentals to Regain Some Mojo

skift.com - Digital - 7 November 2017
Trivago rose to prominence as a website to search for hotels — and just hotels. But the Expedia-backed company is expanding into vacation rentals. It’s all part of a bigger trend which has metasearch sites and online travel agencies blurring their differences and adding a hodgepodge of accommodation types.
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Booking.com Rethinks Digital Advertising in Favor of TV

skift.com - Digital - 7 November 2017
Look for some dominoes to fall and perhaps a competitive realignment over the long term as Booking.com, the king of digital advertising in travel, rethinks some of its pay-per-click marketing, and goes very big on TV with a goal to attract more direct bookings.
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TripAdvisor Hotel Bookings Continue to Slide as Non-Hotel Business Surges

skift.com - Digital - 7 November 2017
TripAdvisor is finding success outside of the hotel booking space, even as expensive TV ads touting its hotel product continue to flood the airwaves in North America and Europe. TripAdvisor’s non-hotel revenue in the third quarter surged 26 percent year-over-year, while its hotel revenue dropped 3 percent over the same period, according to financial results released by the company late Monday.
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CEOs of Expedia and Priceline Group - What Have You Done for Me Lately?

skift.com - Digital - 6 November 2017
The CEOs of the Priceline Group and Expedia have been top executives at their respective companies for years, but both are relatively new to the top slot at their firms. Glenn Fogel of the Priceline Group became CEO January 1, taking over from interim boss Jeffery Boyd, and Mark Okerstrom is only a little more than two months into calling the shots, finding himself in the proverbial corner office after predecessor Dara Khosrowshahi left to steer Uber.
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How the Disenfranchised Navigate the World in a Time of Permanxiety

skift.com - Digital - 6 November 2017
In 2017 — with xenophobia, hate crimes, and discrimination top of mind — travelers from disenfranchised groups are looking to their tribes for reliable safety information online. LGBT travel concerns are high, from discriminatory bathroom bills and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. Muslim travelers deal with Islamophobia and President Trump’s travel ban, which the ACLU identified as a discriminatory “Muslim ban,” and which prompted hundreds of lawyers to volunteer at airports across the U.S. Hispanic travelers face an increasingly unwelcoming environment in the U.S. amid calls for a border wall with Mexico and immigration crackdowns. Black travelers express fears of re-surging white nationalism and police brutality alongside the NAACP’s first state-specific travel advisory, for Missouri.
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One in Five Amadeus Bookings Subject to New Fees as Air France Adds Surcharge

skift.com - Digital - 3 November 2017
It has taken many years, and the moves have been fraught with conflict, but major airlines are slowly adding fees for consumers and travel managers when they book flights through global distribution systems and travel agencies. That put Amadeus executives on the defensive Friday in talking to investment analysts during a third-quarter earnings call.
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Airbnb Rival Xiaozhu Raises $120 Million: Travel Startup Funding This Week

skift.com - Digital - 3 November 2017
Earlier this week, GetYourGuide, the tours and activities marketplace, raised a $75 million round led by Battery Ventures, as the company shifted the emphasis of its pitch from striving to be the largest database of activities to becoming a mobile travel companion that offers recommendations based on deep tech. Also earlier this week, China’s largest online travel agent, Ctrip, bought Trip.com, a startup formerly known as Gogobot and that had raised $39 million. The companies did not disclose the terms.
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EasyJet Backs Startup WeSki in a Bet on Vacation-Package Bookings

skift.com - Digital - 2 November 2017
A Tel Aviv-based startup backed by easyJet and a co-founder of Waze Inc. aims to do for ski vacations what Booking.com did for hotel customers. WeSki, launched this month by four Israeli ski buddies, allows groups to organize all-inclusive ski vacations that are customized to their needs and, the founders say, cheaper than packages offered by agents.
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eDreams Odigeo to Explore Sale After Attracting Interest From Potential Investors

skift.com - Digital - 2 November 2017
Barcelona-based online travel company eDreams Odigeo has announced a strategic review of the business, which may lead to the sale of the company. The firm, which completed an initial public offering (IPO) on the Madrid Stock Exchange in 2014, said the move was prompted by “unsolicited indications of interest from potential investors.”
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Travelzoo Is Having Trouble Figuring Out Life After Metasearch

skift.com - Digital - 2 November 2017
As the overall online daily deals mania has subsided in tandem with an improved global economy, booking sites which made their name in the discount space have languished. One of those sites, Travelzoo, is trying to get smarter about what its nearly 30 million subscribers actually want, but seems to be having a tough time figuring it out. After selling off its Fly.com domain earlier this year and shuttering its search product, Travelzoo is living a life after search.
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Skyscanner Is Propelling Ctrip's International Growth

skift.com - Digital - 2 November 2017
China’s largest online travel agency, Ctrip, reported financial results for the third quarter, but some investment analysts listening to the earnings call were most interested in a different Chinese e-commerce platform, Meituan-Dianping.
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MakeMyTrip Takes Steps to Escape Becoming a Price-War Casualty

skift.com - Digital - 1 November 2017
Everyone knows that India presents a large growth opportunity for travel businesses as its middle class widens and shifts to booking trips online. But not everyone knows how to be profitable while building a business in India. The opportunity has sparked fierce competition, requiring local players to use discounts to build up their customer bases. That dynamic appears to have dampened profits for all players, domestic and foreign.
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Google to Retire ITA Software Flight-Search Engine for Small Companies

skift.com - Digital - 1 November 2017
Alphabet Inc.’s Google is pulling a software tool that let small companies access search information on airfares, a potential blow to online travel newcomers. Google’s tool was opened in 2011 after its $700 million acquisition of ITA Software Inc., an online airfare broker. In approving the deal, a federal judge required that Google keep an ITA flight search and pricing software, called QPX, accessible to third parties for at least five years.
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Video: TripAdvisor CEO Believes Company's Performance Is On Track

skift.com - Digital - 31 October 2017
TripAdvisor has had its operational struggles this year, but CEO Stephen Kaufer insists everything is on track for future growth. In a wide-ranging conversation at Skift Global Forum in New York City in September, Kaufer commented on a variety of challenges and opportunities facing the company.
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Video: Expedia CEO on Blockchain and Competitive Threats

skift.com - Digital - 30 October 2017
New Expedia Inc. CEO Mark Okerstrom faces a few challenges even bigger than filling the shoes of predecessor Dara Khosrowshahi, who left for Uber a couple of months ago. Outgrowing a rival like the Priceline Group, which today seems almost impossible, and dealing with competitors like Airbnb, remain daunting tasks.

New Expedia CEO Just Became His Own Guy in Outlining a New Strategy

skift.com - Digital - 26 October 2017
Now that Expedia Inc. CEO Mark Okerstrom has settled into his new job, after predecessor Dara Khosrowshahi high-tailed it off for Uber nearly two months ago, a lot of Okerstrom’s initial talk about not having a list of things he’d want to do differently than the former CEO has been cast aside. In presiding over his first earnings call Thursday as Expedia’s number two honcho — after controlling shareholder and chairperson Barry Diller, that is — CEO Okerstrom said in the future Expedia would “disproportionately” seek to create value from the organic growth of its existing businesses, including Expedia, Hotels.com, and HomeAway, for example.
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Growth Juggernaut Trivago Sees Revenue Slump Coming as Biggest Customers Pull Back

skift.com - Digital - 25 October 2017
Talk about a bump in the road. Last year, the Priceline Group and Expedia Inc. accounted for about 80 percent of hotel-search site Trivago‘s revenue. But this year those companies pulled back on their digital advertising with Trivago.

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