U.S. online travel agencies (OTAs) have long relied on airline tickets as the cornerstone of their business. But sliding air bookings are now forcing OTAs to seek growth elsewhere. According to a new PhoCusWright report, OTA air gross bookings are projected to drop 7% in 2013 as air suppliers succeed in driving direct bookings via online and mobile channels. Hotel and lodging, not air, is now the segment driving OTA growth.
via PhocusWright Newsletter.
TripAdvisor, which began as a place to read reviews and research a trip, and lately has morphed into hotel bookings through metasearch, has a new frontier: TripAdvisor wants to become an in-destination personal concierge.
This extension of TripAdvisor’s interest into another facet of the travel cycle comes because of the proliferation of mobile devices, and is great news for tours and activities startups, many of which have been struggling with business models or have died off.
Don’t be surprised if TripAdvisor, which often buys a handful of travel startups each year, comes knocking on the door of GetYourGuide, 18-year-old Viator (although it would be relatively expensive), or another tours and activities startup to further TripAdvisor’s in-destination ambitions.
Skift sat down with TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer earlier this week, and he described TripAdvisor’s vision of the future, which broke down into four areas: global growth, becoming an in-destination personal concierge, vacation rentals, and improving TripAdvisor search.
via TripAdvisor Roadmap: How it Wants to Own the Travel Cycle – Skift.
Oct 13, 2013 11:12 am
The sharing economy, or as some call it the collaborative consumption economy, is still in its early infancy and companies like Airbnb, Lyft, RelayRides and their peers are the hottest topic in the startup world right now.
The legality of these startups has been in the grey from the start, as they push against the incumbent laws and regulations, and New York City, by being a dense urban environment where sharing comes naturally, has become a very high profile platform for some of these fights.
Airbnb is the biggest fight of them all, with rentals being a war game in our teeming city. Every generation that moves into New York City has its own rental stories, and ours is Airnbnb vs NYC.
via Airbnb Vs. New York City: The Defining Fight of the Sharing Economy – Skift.
The 2013 Digital IQ Index®: Hotels report assesses the digital performance of 48 U.S. Hotel brands in the Economy, Midscale, Upper Midscale, and Upscale categories across the dimensions of Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media and Mobile
via Hotels | L2: A Think Tank for Digital Innovation.
NEW YORK – NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, announces a new partnership with Booking.com -the world’s largest accommodation booking site- to increase tourism and generate additional hotel bookings to the nation’s number one big city tourism destination. Effective today, Booking.com will become the exclusive hotel booking engine powering the City’s official tourism website, nycgo.com, helping NYC & Company bolster incremental hotel bookings during key need periods, exclusively for its hotel member properties. Consumers visiting nycgo.com/hotels can begin making New York City hotel reservations today using the new e-commerce offering, a first-of-its-kind, hotel booking platform promoting a travel destination.”We are pleased to join with Booking.com to provide consumers from around the globe with easy access to the best hotel inventory at every style and price point in the nation’s number one big city tourism destination. Tourism in the City continues to grow with 53 million visitors anticipated by year’s end, and a hotel sector that continues to experience record growth,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. – See more at: http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/56894/nyc-amp-company-announces-new#sthash.dClZpoFg.dpuf
via NYC & Company announces new partnership with site Booking.com.
First-Ever App for iPad and Exciting New Design for iOS 7 Further Mobilizes the Starwood Preferred Guest® Experience Delivering Rich Personalization Based on Guest Insights and Localized Content
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®), the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT), today introduced an innovative and inspiring new app for iPad as well as an exciting new design to support iOS 7. The SPG App for iPad joins the SPG App for iPhone, extending SPG’s digital suite of products and gives today’s connected traveler a visually rich, personalized experience on every step of their journey from imaginative destination exploration to the details of their trip before, during and after a visit. Each new, native iOS 7 app builds on the operating system’s latest features and designs and provides guests with the beautiful, immersive travel experience Starwood is known to deliver.
“Travel is inherently mobile and the rapid advancements in technology enable us to extend the personalized experience guests receive in our hotels to their most personal devices,” said Chris Holdren , Senior Vice President, Starwood Preferred Guest & Digital. “Following our success with the SPG App for iPhone, we built the SPG App for iPad using insights we have gained from our members. The relationships we’ve built with our guests put us in a unique position to lead and win with digital by delivering the experiences they seek.”
Today’s travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to search for and explore destinations, as well as book rooms and other travel services. Industry wide, 40% of travel searches occur on mobile devices up from 25% in 2012. Starwood’s mobile bookings are growing at an annual rate of 1000% –five times greater than the annual growth rate of the web channel 10 years ago. The new Starwood apps deliver both the convenience and speed mobile travelers desire while highlighting the SPG lifestyle.
via Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Groupon today announced the acquisition of last-minute travel app Blink, a leading European destination for great deals on highly curated, same-day hotel bookings, bolstering its rapidly growing Groupon Getaways travel business. TheMadrid-based Blink works with more than 2,000 hotel partners in eight European countries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are very excited to welcome the Blink team to the Groupon family,” said Aaron Cooper, senior vice president of Groupon Getaways. “The combination of a fantastic mobile app, same-day inventory management for properties and a team that is obsessed with mobile and last-minute travel will help us further expand our travel business as the go-to destination for great deals on great places to stay.”
The addition of same-day bookings gives Groupon Getaways another way to serve customers’ travel needs, whether it’s deals on hotels across the globe, all-inclusive travel packages or full-service tours in popular destinations. Blink’s easy-to-use mobile app caters to on-the-go travelers looking for unique hotels in travel hotspots across Europe and complements Groupon’s existing European travel offerings.
via Groupon Acquires Last-Minute Travel App Blink (NASDAQ:GRPN).
Aug 30, 2013 9:16 am
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
CEO Frits van Paasschen is regarded as one of the brightest minds in the hospitality industry, which was on full display this summer at the hotel group’s annual Rendezvous sales pow wow in New Orleans. Starwood operates nine hotel brands: W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, St. Regis, Starwood Luxury Collection, Le Meridien, Four Points by Sheraton, Element and Aloft.Previously the CEO of Coors and GM of Nike Europe before moving into hospitality in 2007, van Paasschen has injected his lifestyle brand expertise into the Starwood brand building machinery. No hotel company has created and delineated hotel brand stories as well as Starwood.
During his 22-minute presentation at Rendezvous, van Paasschen defined today’s shifting global travel economy, tomorrow’s hotel trends and how his company is adapting to those trends ahead of the curve.
The following is a slightly abbreviated transcript of Frits van Paasschen’s speech at Starwood Rendezvous New Orleans 2013:
via Starwood CEO Defines the Future of Hotels in \’Age of Great Change\’ – Skift.
Aug 26, 2013 7:00 am
Now that TripAdvisor has launched Kayak-like hotel metasearch, the two companies are competing head to head for the first time.
That’s the context for a new feature that Kayak is introducing today: User rating scores to rival TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index for hotels.
And, as part of Kayak’s changes, which also includes a redesigned homepage, it is not-so-coincidentally dropping its use of TripAdvisor user reviews.
via Kayak Drops TripAdvisor Hotel Reviews, Adds Its Own User Ratings – Skift.