March 17, 2018 View in browser

Editor's Note

Sometimes the connections between stories could not be more apparent. For example, Airbnb started telling boutique hoteliers something they already know — Expedia and's commissions can be very steep. So Airbnb is riding to the rescue with commissions of a mere 3 to 5 percent.

At the same time,, which catapulted to be the biggest and baddest online travel site by focusing on hotels, is well on its way to becoming a full-service agency. It is no coincidence that Airbnb is making noises about adding flights after having launched some tours and activities. Is everything coming full circle?
New Skift Research Report: Decoding the Modern Vacation Rental Technology Landscape
Vacation rentals face unique challenges in a fragmented market, including how operators can really understand the technology stacks powering the ecosystem. Skift Research decodes the vacation rental tech landscape for you, complete with operator personas and how to drive sales with software.
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Top Stories
Airbnb Makes Its Battle Against Booking and Expedia Official With New Hotel Campaign
The battle for online travel dominance began long ago, but now it's really getting serious. Count this as Airbnb's official opening shot toward Booking and Expedia.

Southwest Airlines Expects New Hawaii Routes Will ‘Ignite’ Credit Card Sign-Ups
If you have an airline-branded credit card, you may think you're getting a free ticket. It is free — for you. But often someone is paying for it.

Booking Is on the Road to Becoming a Full-Service Online Travel Agency keeps hinting that it intends to become a full-service travel agency. But these products are often less profitable than hotels. So it risks a bumpy ride. No wonder it is considering revamping its rewards program and building a chatbot to help with merchandising.

JetBlue’s Popular Mint Business Class Disrupted All of Its Rivals
JetBlue's not the most profitable U.S. airline. It's not the most on-time. It doesn't have nearly the selection of destinations as its larger competitors. But the airline has succeeded in disrupting the industry with its innovative business class product.

United Airlines May Introduce Domestic Premium Economy
Don't criticize airlines for segmenting their product. This is a basic business principle: Airlines want to sell customers the most expensive products they're willing to buy.
Royal Caribbean Is Making a Billion-Dollar Push for New Cruisers
Cruise industry players talk constantly about attracting first-timers. Royal Caribbean International is putting some serious cash behind that talk with its new investments into private destinations and ship upgrades.

The Cuba You Read About in Guidebooks Often Clashes With Reality
Cuba guidebooks do a decent job at giving travelers a view of what visiting and living in the country is like and remain important information gatekeepers. But while many address the political climate and economic hardship, they haven't been effective at telling tourists how to ensure their visits don't make things worse.

These Destinations Did Well Despite U.S. International Tourism Slump
Many U.S. destinations have blamed the president and strong U.S. dollar for the visitor slump during the past year. But might the impact have been softened if U.S. tourism had a cabinet slot to supplement the efforts of Brand USA? Many other countries have had such representation for decades.
Online Travel
Booking Targets Urban Apartments in Vacation Rental Land Grab now wants to sign up all types of alternative accommodations, even short-term rental apartments that face increased regulation in many cities. CEO Glenn Fogel seems to think that the ultimate winner of the online travel game will be whoever has the most beds in the end.

Ctrip’s Growth Hits a Speed Bump Over Consumer Issues
Recent consumer activism and regulatory issues have unsettled Ctrip. But the trend is a positive sign that Chinese consumers will gradually demand protections, which will put in place drivers for long-term stable growth.

Trivago Wants to Do More Google Advertising Now That a Ban Is Lifted
Trivago views Google Hotels as a separate channel from Google AdWords, and it is testing participation now that sites such as its own are no longer banned. Then comes the question of how profitable using Google Hotels would be, and whether Trivago wants to spend a lot of money in a competitive product.
American Airlines Turns to Data to Manage AAdvantage Members
American Airlines has the value of your loyalty down to a science. But can that data prevent elites from defecting to other carriers?

Lufthansa Group’s Innovation Hub Is Its Hedge Against Disruptors
It's not easy to bring the 'fail fast' mantra to an airline. But through its innovation hub in Berlin, Lufthansa is trying to bring some tech-world principles to the airline business. That's a good thing.

Why Your Airline Award Flight Is (Often) Not Exactly Free
Southwest doesn't care if you pay with points or cash. That's for good reason. Even if you pay with points, the airline often gets paid.
A Boutique Hotelier’s Perspective on Co-Working and the Future of Hospitality
The beauty of Ennismore's flagship brand, The Hoxton hotels, is how it distills what the original boutique hotel pioneers did, but makes it relevant to today's audiences on a more equitable, democratic scale. CEO Sharan Pasricha's approach to hospitality — an outsider's perspective, if you will — is equally refreshing.

InterContinental Hotels Is Buying a 51 Percent Stake in Regent Hotels for $39 Million
Well, that didn't take very long. Will this luxury brand with a past be a good fit for IHG? Or is it too little, too late, to give Regent the comeback it deserves?

TurnKey Raises $31 Million as Vacation Home Rental Management Stays Hot
Does yet another big funding round signal that the vacation rental property market is over-heated? Nah. It's reasonable given the huge size of the opportunity and how much investment will be needed to digitize and automate the sector.
Online Bookings Grow for Small and Simple Meetings
Meetings booked online are small in stature and short in duration, which comes as no surprise. The consumerization of the booking process for meetings is well under way.

What Happens When Events Grow Too Big?
Germany's biggest exhibition will test the endurance of delegates as more than 200,000 visitors flock to Hanover. The event may be too big for the host city, and many delegates will have to commute for hours each day.
Luxury Travel
The Future of Luxury Sits at the Intersection of Travel and Fashion
There are countless lessons to consider when examining how luxury fashion, auto, and hospitality are already perfectly integrated inside the world's fashion capital.

Is the Crypto-Luxury Travel Market Worth the Risk?
Bitcoin's growth has made a lot of people very wealthy, and more companies are looking at tapping into what could be a lucrative market. The problem, though, is the unpredictable nature of cryptocurrency markets means accepting these virtual currencies comes with considerable risk.
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