July 12, 2017 View in browser

Note From the Editor

Give travelers what they want, right? For years, companies such as Kayak fine-tuned ways to enable bargain-hunting consumers to price-shop hotels and flights. But consumers increasingly want to use their vocal cords to search. So, as travel tech editor Sean O'Neill writes, Kayak now enables you to book a hotel through Amazon Echo devices using only the spoken word. The problem is there is no ability to ensure you're getting the best deal.

It isn't exactly the New Deal, but word is from our meetings guru Greg Oates that city leaders around the world are launching innovation districts to blend startups, universities, and other thought leaders into a concoction that might turn rust-belt cities into brain-belt enclaves, as he puts it. Cities want to give their citizenry what they want, and this is one strategy for doing it.
The Skift Research Mid-Year Report Recap
The first half of 2017 has been busy for the Skift Research team. Along with publishing twice-monthly Research Reports on a multitude of sectors in travel, we've introduced 3 new products to our suite of offerings. Get a sneak peek of the year ahead and review 2017's top 5 selling reports.
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Top Stories
U.S. Mayors Are Backing Innovation Districts To Transform Cities’ Brands
With the federal government deadlocked in intractable partisan debate, mayors across the U.S. are stepping up to drive progress by cultivating their innovation economies. A growing number are developing innovation districts to elevate their cities' brands.

Kayak and Amazon Alexa Now Offer Voice-Powered Hotel Booking
Kayak is the first online travel player to let shoppers book hotels via Amazon's smart speakers. While the concept has promise, its price comparison process still has to improve before it becomes useful to the average traveler.

Data Breach at Sabre Hits Four Seasons and Other Hotels
Sometimes it really does pay to book direct. At least in this case, customers who booked direct weren't impacted. Those who booked on third-party channels like online travel agencies weren't as lucky.

Transport for London’s Adoption of Contactless Payments Really Worked
Identifying payment trends among consumers not only improves the customer experience but also allows businesses to create new operating models built around the improved speed and ease of transacting.
The Business of Dining
Tock CEO Nick Kokonas Says He Can Prove Many Restaurants Are Overpaying OpenTable
The Tock CEO's disdain for OpenTable isn't secret, but it seems he now has empirical evidence to back up what he's been saying for years.

Announcing René Redzepi at Skift Global Forum 2017
We wanted this year's Skift Global Forum speakers to reflect our expansion into the business of dining out. Today we're excited to welcome René Redzepi to our lineup.
Still Popular
Blockchain Will Disrupt Expedia and Airbnb, TUI CEO Says
Blockchain is essentially a large immutable database which, due to its security features and decentralized nature, can pose a threat to traditional intermediaries. Companies are looking to expand blockchain to tackle the current travel distribution landscape.

Hotel and Online Travel Agency Direct Booking Winners and Losers in 5 Charts
Expedia and Booking.com, which each doubled Marriott's TV advertising spend over the last year, are still growing like weeds despite hotels' direct-booking campaigns. That makes for a tough environment for hoteliers, although some brands will do better than others.

Interview: TripAdvisor CEO on How Attractions and Restaurants Fit Into Overall Strategy
TripAdvisor has hotels but its activities business is burning bright. The conversation will continue to shift toward the non-hotel revenue line, as the company moves into the long game focusing on execution rather than transformation.
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