Google fear is looming on travel industry

Jul 11, 2019 / Google

Several market experts suggest that regulatory bodies need to act proactively, otherwise it would be too late to get a hold of Google’s dominance.

The fear among several businesses operating in the travel industry concerns that Google will soon own the online travel arena, as the search engine is using its popularity to destroy competing content providers.

With the expansion of Google’s offerings for the travel industry, several travel companies have been hit hard. For instance, TravelFish.org, which is the digital version of the Lonely Planet guide in South East Asia, is the recent prey of Google in the travel industry.

Traffic to TravelFish.org reduced by almost 50%, as travelers finding snippets from the website are not much directed to the website by Google as in the past.

Related: Is the travel industry heading for a new world order?

Products & Services

Sonder raises $210 million to offer apartments with hotel-level service

Jul 11, 2019 / Sonder

Sonder, which rents serviced apartments akin to boutique hotels, has raised $225 million at a valuation north of $1 billion.

The Airbnb competitor says it tripled the number of rentable units in its online marketplace last year with more than 8,500 spaces in 20 cities around the world available today.

“The future of hospitality will be dynamic,” writes Sonder co-founder and chief executive officer Francis Davidson in a statement. “It will demand flexibility. And that’s what our diverse, unique and adventure-seeking world is like too. That’s why, while our spaces will continue to take on new forms and expand to exciting neighborhoods around the world, a Sonder will always be unforgettable.”

Related: What is Sonder?

Revenue Management

Hotels face growing backlash against resort fees

Jul 11, 2019 / Marriott

Not so long ago, you mainly encountered resort fees at actual resort hotels. But over the last few years, they’ve started to pop up at hotels with no such facilities.

Because many hotels don’t include these fees in the prices they advertise, they can come as a surprise to consumers when they check in or even when they are settling up at the end of their stay.

The amount of revenue the hotel industry rakes in from resort and other fees and surcharges is huge: $2.9 billion in 2018, according to Bjorn Hanson, a hospitality industry consultant in New York.

Booking.com and Expedia are also pressuring hotels to be more upfront about resort fees, even though their motivation may be as much about their bottom line as helping consumers.

Related: Marriott facing lawsuit over ‘deceptive’ resort fees that allegedly harm consumers

Business Travel

Cvent launches Proposal Assistant for group business RFPs

Jul 11, 2019 / Cvent

Suppliers using Cvent's Lead Scoring tool within the company's Hospitality Cloud will soon have automated capabilities to respond to requests for proposals.

Available in August, Proposal Assistant will automate current manual processes, such as dates, rates and meeting space that best fits a group's needs and the property's current availability.

The proposed benefits, in addition to automation, include faster response time to electronic RFPs that come from Cvent buyer users, the ability to drive more group revenue because of the Lead Scoring prioritization of RFPs and competitive insights using Cvent's Competitive Set Dashboard.


Kayak: AI isn’t a ‘wonder weapon’ that will solve all your problems

Jul 11, 2019 / AI

The company saw AI as a way of making its products smarter and more efficient so customers could more easily plan and organize their trips. But it took years of learning to get to that point.

Kayak uses algorithms to tag photos of hotels, determining whether they’re showing a beach, bedroom, bathroom, or gym, for example. But the tagging process isn’t perfect.

While AI is pretty good at determining whether a picture is showing a dog or a cat, it’s not as accurate when it comes to other areas, like image classification. Even if your AI achieves 95% accuracy, 50 out of 1,000 predictions will still end up being wrong.