October 12, 2019 View in browser

Editor's Note

In this week's top news, Executive Editor Dennis Schaal takes a closer look at the key players notably absent from Google's vacation rentals product, which launched last weekend.

In the run-up to 2020, when it may go public, will Airbnb make the leap and join Google's new business? Meanwhile, just three days following Google's announcement, Booking Holdings declared that its Agoda sub-brand would be removing its listings — and by midweek they had indeed disappeared. That means one of Google's largest customers has no listings whatsoever in the search engine's vacation rentals product.

If you'd like to take a deeper dive in the fast-evolving alternative accommodations ecosystem, join us at the first-ever Skift Short-Term Rental Summit on Dec. 5 in New York City. We look forward to seeing you there.

Short-Term Rental Summit
Top Stories
Does Airbnb Really Need to Join Google’s New Vacation Rental Business?

Do or die? Test and learn? Now or never? As Airbnb marches toward going public in 2020, a key question in many minds will be how Airbnb deals with Google — and at what price. There are no slam-dunk answers.

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New Report: The Business Imperative for Making Hospitality More Inclusive
Sponsored by AIG

Many different cohorts confront challenges when they travel — people with disabilities, women, LGBTQ people, students — and often don't travel at all because of fears that leaving home won't be worth the stress or hassle. Leaders in the industry are calling for a more inclusive hospitality paradigm that better serves all travelers. It's both the right thing to do and a huge business opportunity.

Booking Holdings Is Withdrawing From Google Vacation Rentals

Behind the scenes, there may be abundant reasons that Booking Holdings and Airbnb, for that matter, won't be dabbling in Google's vacation rentals business for the time being. Perhaps they are seeking to boost direct traffic or are unhappy with the economics and user experience. Expedia may be positioned to take some advantage.

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Shore Excursions Not Run by Cruise Lines Are a Hit With Passengers and Travel Advisors Alike

Independent shore excursions are proliferating, enabling passengers to avoid the crowds and travel advisors to earn commissions. With competition more intense, some cruise lines are attempting to improve their excursion offerings as a result.

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Delta Hints at Return to Days of Simpler Fares

Airlines aren't always the most customer-centric businesses so any move to make things easier to understand should be welcomed. As usual, we'll believe it when we see it.

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Do You Have Your Tickets to Skift Short-Term Rental Summit?

We've recently announced that we are hosting our first ever short-term rental summit this December. We are working hard to bring together the most innovative CEOs and founders in the vacation rental industry and an incredible editorial program that you wouldn't want to miss. Secure your spot today!

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Saudi Arabia’s New Tourism Frontier Explained

Businesses can't resist the opportunities that a new frontier brings. In the case of Saudi Arabia, however, the gamble they take is whether tourists will actually go, given the kingdom's poor image. The adage "build and they will come" is being tested.

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The Impact of Brexit on the Travel Industry: New Skift Research

The UK is an important contributor to global travel, but the uncertainty over Brexit will impact its place in the world and its residents' willingness to spend on international vacations. The questions are just how and where the impact will be felt most.

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Editor's Picks
Why the Hot Springs Movement Is Gaining Steam in the United States

The ancient Greeks did it. So did the ancient and not-so-ancient Romans, Japanese, and Chinese. Heck, even some of the founding fathers of the United States did it too. But despite its illustrious past, the idea of taking the waters has never really caught on in the United States, until now. Hot springs could be on the verge of a major wellness moment.

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Thomas Cook UK Shops Sold to Retail Rival Owned by Husband-and-Wife Team

Given the state of the traditional retail industry, on the surface this appears to be a risky deal. But Hays Travel is a profitable, growing business and will probably have secured the assets at a knockdown price. The company knows better than most how to make shops work.

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Why Are Top Airline CEOs Donating Ahead of the 2020 Election to This Political Group?

Airlines spend so much time massaging their public images every time they face a crisis. It's important to remember that for all the woke posturing from these brands, their leaders still often back the leaders more likely to give them tax breaks than support liberal social causes.

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Assistant Managing Editor Faye Chiu [fc@skift.com] curates the Skift Weekend Review. She also scripts the Skift Daily Briefing podcast, which you can subscribe to here.

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