Expedia places service at heart of strategy

Mar 10, 2019 / Expedia

Expedia will put providing the services travellers expect from traditional offline travel agents at the core of its development over the next two decades.

The CEO Mark Okerstrom told delegates at this week’s ITB trade show in Berlin that the firm was now established as a global travel platform.

But, more than 20 years since its foundation and 13 years since it became a public company Okerstrom said what it still has not done is “those great things that travel agents did, and many still do”.

“What we still have not done is those other great things travel agents did and many still do. That part of travel agency, bring an advocate for the consumer, making sure we know them, having a personal connection, that’s what the next 20 years is all about.”


Will buying HotelTonight help Airbnb’s messy booking experience?

Mar 10, 2019 / Airbnb

Airbnb’s booking experience - which, in step with the company’s impressive and dizzying transformation, has become increasingly complex.

Airbnb has been adding hotels to its platform for awhile now. In January, the company said the hotel inventory on its platform grew 152% in 2018.

Airbnb has been careful to note that, despite its professionalization, the hotels on its platform still align with its ethos of authentic travel that allows users to feel like they “belong anywhere.”

Let’s hope it learns a thing or two from HotelTonight’s elegant booking experience, too.

Related: Airbnb paying $400 million for HotelTonight

Data Protection

Marriott CEO: Source of cyberattack still unknown

Mar 10, 2019 / Marriott
Marriott International
Marriott International

Arne Sorenson testified to a U.S. Senate subcommittee, apologizing for the massive data breach that involved 383 million guest records.

The company has "not found any data that was removed from the Starwood database on the internet or dark web" and has not received any confirmed claims of loss attributable to the breach.

Marriott is addressing to the risk of future cyberattacks with a "layered defense approach and continuous improvement."

Two key elements of the company's strategy to prevent future attacks: encryption and decentralized storage of guest data, such as passport information.

Related: Will Marriott data breach herald the death of personalization?

Data Protection

Sabre data breach ‘a wake-up call’

Mar 10, 2019 / Sabre

Sabre Hospitality Solutions president Clinton Anderson said the data breach revealed at the travel technology company in 2017 was “a day of awakening”.

Sabre’s SynXis hotel reservations system suffered a breach in 2016-17 which saw unauthorised access to credit card details, including card security codes.

Speaking at German travel trade show ITB in Berlin, Anderson said: “We had a data breach 24 months ago. It was a day of awakening for us.”

He said: “These problems are not going away. Cyber threats are increasing.” But he insisted: “Ultimately, we will see significant consumer confidence in this, in how data is safely stored.”

Related: Sabre sued for data breach of Synxis hotel res system


Amadeus: The future of retail


The Future of Retail white paper outlines the trends that retail travel agents need to consider as part of their long term strategy.

The white paper outlines the top five travel industry trends, as follows:

Personalisation: The travel industry is entering a new era of travel personalisation that will benefit both the agent and consumer.

Mobile and payments: The explosion of mobile services in Asia will deliver new innovations in mobile and payments, particularly in user experience and user interface.

Rich Travel Content: Travel content will rise with the implementation of 5G and 6G high speed networks. Content management and integration with non-travel related content.

Voice: Typing, swiping and other forms of interaction are all just intermediate steps as travellers are unable to efficiently talk to a machine.

Internet of Things: IoT technology will help connect the customer with travel consultants at every stage of the travel process and could allow for a "universal travel pass" that can handle multiple currencies and bookings.

Download: The Future of Retail

Revenue Management

How you should think about point-of-sale pricing and source markets

Mar 10, 2019 / OTA Insight (sponsored)

When it comes to managing a hotel’s revenue, there are many data points to consider: target occupancy, booking windows, group sales projections, market trends, local events, and more.

Threaded throughout each of these data pointsis the central question for hoteliers: based on what I know, how much do I charge for my rooms?

To answer this question effectively, hotels’ marketing and distribution activities often focus on their geographical source markets. It's about understanding demand trends from specific markets worldwide, and then crafting promotions to boost bookings from targeted source markets.

But what do hotel revenue managers know about the information that users are presented with when searching for their rooms online?

Digital Marketing

Insights into Google’s “Responsive Search Ads” beta

Mar 10, 2019 / Screen Pilot (sponsored)

In May of 2018, Google introduced a new ad format beta: the responsive search ad. Are they worth it so far?

When it comes to Responsive Search Ads, advertisers have the ability to add up to 15, 30-character headlines and four, 90-character descriptions.

Not only are the number of headline and description combinations more than what we are used to, but Google has also introduced a new, automated ”feedback tool”. When writing responsive search ads, the headline or description field is auto-populated based on copy you have used in other ads.