Tech/Travel News Commentary for May 17 2012


Kayak’s long delayed IPO is likely to move forward quickly if the markets respond favorably to Facebook’s IPO.


The sales channels hotels dislike: Partners large and small sign on as Online Travel Agency affiliates. For example, if I wanted to, I could become an affiliate and sell hotel room bookings from my blog site. These affiliates can set prices at levels they choose, regardless of hotels’ pricing strategies. This of course plays havoc with hotels’ ability to control their pricing and profits, but they haven’t the market power to drop the OTA distribution channels. If an individual hotel declines to distribute through OTAs, it will soon find that it has lots of vacancies while its neighbors’ rooms are more heavily booked. It’s a version of the prisoner’s dilemma game theory problem, probably exacerbated by legal barriers against collusion—I doubt the hotels can legally all get together and agree on acceptable margins and whether or not they will distribute through OTAs.


The Amadeus Global Distribution Service is now getting daily airline schedule updates from OAG’s continuously updated flight schedule database. For readers new to travel content distribution, it generally works like this: Supplier (airline) > updates database (e.g., OAG) > provides feed to Global Distribution System (e.g., Amadeus) > is accessed by travel agents or their online booking systems (e.g, Expedia, traditional independent agents), airline booking systems (e.g.,’s international bookings), etc.


Ever tried to redeem your frequent flyer miles only to have the airline tell you that no seats are available? Surprisingly, airlines have recently started offering more reward seats despite flying at higher capacity.


Best and worst airlines for redeeming miles:

Wall Street Journal

Yet another collection of Overhead Bin travel inspiration photos. I always enjoy these.


Our colleagues here at Expedia have built a big summer promotion around top travel bloggers’ bucket lists and recommended destinations. Expedia hopes aspiring travelers read all about the great destinations the bloggers have visited and get motivated to book their own travel adventures. I had a look through the blogs myself and found that I’ve been to a few of their destinations, but there a lot more I want to visit. Great promotion!




By the time most of you read this, Facebook shares will be trading. The initial price is set at $38. Anyone want to bet on what the share price will be at the end of the first day? There’s a website for that. Developer James Proud tells how he did it: “Quickly knocked together with Python, Tornado, Postgres, Redis, Heroku, no sleep and Bootstrap.”


Here’s a list of who just got richer:


And how Zuckerberg did it. The article is a bit of a hagiography, but it rings pretty true. It’s amusing to read the feedback comments and see how many of the readers feel the need to put down Zuckerberg. I learned the name for this phenomenon when I lived in Australia—The tall poppy syndrome.


While one company soars, another is preparing to retrench. HP is said to be considering the elimination of as many as 30,000 jobs. Too bad. Most long-time techies have loved an HP product at some point in their careers—a calculator, an incredible piece of test equipment or an indestructible printer. Today’s HP products usually don’t elicit such passion, with the possible exception of some datacenter servers—many ops people still swear by them.

All Things D

Microsoft and Google are expanding their cloud offerings to be more competitive with Amazon’s. This bodes well for software and business innovation. Teams I’ve worked for here at Expedia have leveraged cloud resources for quick prototypes without having to go through the long process of approving and deploying new servers.


We watched Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on Netflix the other day, so it was extra amusing to come across this article on solid state drives with self-destruct mechanisms—they even smoke when they are physically destroyed!


New round of Spotify financing set to raise value to $4 billion. I tried Spotify when it first came to the U.S. and have found it displacing most of my other music players and services.

New York Times

12 hour hackathon births Instadash, an Instagram photo management application. Another example of how good developers can use today’s great software development kits and public APIs to quickly build useful applications.


Just one more: Check out these 10 Wild Art Cars from Burning Man:

Popular Mechanics


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