March 10, 2018 View in browser

Editor's Note

InterContinental Hotels Group wants to add to its brand portfolio, but the hotel chain doesn't want a heavy load. As Europe Editor Patrick Whyte reports, one of CEO Keith Barr's criteria in adding a luxury brand or two is that they be asset light. So that's why Belmond is out of the question while possibilities include Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Shangri-La and Kempinski. A deal could be close.

Speaking of hotels, Travel Tech Editor Sean O'Neill dug up an interesting trend in the way Google is displaying room rates. He found that sometimes Google is making consumers click an additional time to access the lowest room prices when they are being offered by smaller online travel agencies. Conversely, Google sometimes gives more sunshine to higher rates from the bigger players. In other words, follow the money.
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Top Stories
InterContinental Hotels Is Closing In on a Luxury Acquisition
Asset light, something with history and heritage, fewer than 200 hotels ... IHG CEO Keith Barr has quite a specific wish list. It doesn't sound like we'll have to wait too long until we find out the identity of the luxury hotel brand in question.

Has Google Made the Lowest Hotel Rates Harder to Find?
It has become harder to find the online travel agencies with the lowest prices in Google's metasearch. The apparent change this week implicitly favors travel giants, which can afford to dominate ad auctions for online search.

American Airlines Knows if You’ve Been Cheating on It With a Competitor
If you're a high-value American Airlines customer, the carrier knows a lot about you. Now it wants to leverage that data in a more sophisticated way.

Facebook Takes On Google With Trip-Planning Ads
Facebook isn't really in the conversation yet when it comes to competing with Google in travel advertising. But Facebook has the ability to reach travelers at various stages of the trip-planning process so it has the potential to be even more disruptive than it has been.

Luxury Travel Is Becoming Even More Specialized
Here's a concept you are likely to hear more about soon: silo travel. It's all about going to a place for a very specific reason, and luxury travelers are all over it.
Corporate Travel
TripActions Raises $51 Million Series B for Its Business Travel Service
Talk about using incentives to change behavior. Is the threat of obsolescence due to new technology and startup business models enough to prompt incumbent travel management companies such as Egencia and Carlson Wagonlit to adapt?

Radisson Hotel Group Now Makes It Easier to Get Elite Loyalty Status
It's now easier and simpler to join Radisson Rewards and qualify for elite status, though it's slightly harder to earn points for free rooms.

Lola Expands Business Travel Push With Team Management Features
Lola's new group management travel tools are useful for small companies that don't want to deal with the hassle of creating a heavily managed travel program. Its upcoming marketing push will likely prove crucial as the company looks to attract more customers in a crowded business travel booking sector.
Every One of Radisson’s 8 Hotel Brands, Explained
With official brand descriptions like these, it's like Radisson was just begging for us to give them the Skift Take treatment — and we gladly obliged.

Airbnb Hires Amazon Prime Leader to Head Its Homes Business
Can Greeley do for Airbnb Homes what he did with Amazon Prime? And if yes, is that, ultimately, a good thing? Is his appointment a sign that Airbnb is moving even further away from hospitality and gravitating that much closer to just being like any other massive online travel giant?

Budget Hotel Brand RedDoorz Raises $11 Million: Travel Startup Funding This Week
The concept of a budget brand hotel network that promises consistent amenities has been popularized by India's OYO Rooms. RedDoorz has traction with a similar model in Indonesia, which suggests the model may have legs worldwide.
Virgin Voyages Is Counting on Its Brand to Win Over Cruise Skeptics
Virgin Voyages is emphatic about being a different kind of cruise player while planning to sail from the world's busiest cruise port to the most popular destination. The difference will be in the details, and we're still waiting for most of those.

Cruise CEOs Want to Ease Overtourism Without Taking Blame
As much as cruise lines don't want to take responsibility for contributing to overtourism, there's no denying that they flood destinations with thousands of visitors in a short time. The fact that they are discussing ways to do that more thoughtfully is a good step.

River Cruise Line Uniworld Gives Up on Millennial-Only Rule for New Brand
One thing we know about millennials is they don't like to be pigeonholed. Was a millennial-focused cruise line something they really wanted? It looks like the answer is no. Joon, of Air France notoriety, take note.
Accor Won’t Play Marriott’s Game With Meetings Commission Cuts
Accor has no plans to follow Marriott International's lead with commission cuts for meetings, but then again Accor's relatively weak presence in North America means it has to focus on drawing in clients instead of pushing them away.

Events Need to Figure Out a Strategy for Evaluating Marketing Tools
With event technology exploding in scope and complexity in recent years, it's no wonder that organizations aren't sure which sales and marketing tools have the most positive impact. It's the right time to start figuring it out, though.

Marriott Stands Alone in Its Move to Cut Meetings Commissions
The more creative a meeting or event, the more impactful and memorable it is. Why don't more organizations prioritize making the most of their events?
SkyTeam Eases the Hassle of Getting Rebooked When Flights Get Disrupted
Casual travelers often think airlines in the same alliance love to cooperate with each other. That's not always true. They're often fierce competitors. At least SkyTeam has developed new technology that is designed to make it easier for airlines to rebook customers during irregular operations.

Gogo Replaces CEO With Its Largest Shareholder
Something seems off about this. Yes, Gogo CEO Michael Small probably had to go. But shouldn't the company have chosen a new CEO with a background in telecommunications?

Qantas Takes Steps to Overcome Pilot Shortage
Qantas' new pilot academy may address the airline's needs, but won't solve an imbalance which has already seen regional Australian airlines cancel and reschedule services. Meanwhile, the government has bowed to pressure and will again grant temporary visas to pilots after scrapping them last year.
Tour Tech Startup Redeam Turns to Industry Vets for Funding
Redeam doesn't recommend places to visit, call itself "a Facebook for travel", or indulge in other startup pitch clichés. It strives instead to build a solution to a pain point companies will pay to fix — namely, automating paper voucher redemptions for attractions. How refreshingly uncool.

JetBlue’s Venture Arm Expects Blockchain to Be a Major Disruptor
Will blockchain's impact be like the internet's influence on travel? JetBlue Technology Ventures President Bonny Simi thinks so.
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