Travel Review • June 7-11 2012

Calling out Google •Hospitality Tech Funding Up • Hilton & OTAs •Big Travel Card Rewards • Google Changes Increase its Revenue & Advertisers’ Costs • Mobile Devices in Hotels • Universal-Disney Reverse Price War •New Airfare Tips •Pretty Travel Pics

Calling Google on the Carpet

Ex-Orbitz CEO calls out Google. Writing an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Jeff Katz laid out several remedies EU competition commissioner should consider. Google responded to some of the proposals but chose not to address the proposal that Google cease to favor its own products in search results.


Hospitality Tech Startup Funding Ramping Up

Following the high degree of innovation exhibited by tech hospitality startups, VCs are ramping up their funding to the sector. Expect to see support for initiatives in mobile, big data/analytics, social and more.


Hilton Picking its OTA Partners

Hilton Hotels, which refused to sign a new distribution agreement with Orbitz in March, has inked a new agreement with Travelocity and plans to continue working with Expedia and other Online Travel Agencies. Hotels don’t like the loss of pricing power and relatively high commissions they pay in dealing with OTAs. However, individual hotels and chains still benefit from OTA agreements because they don’t have the marketing power and reach that allows OTAs to fill rooms that would otherwise sit empty. Hilton seems to be sending a signal that it will work with OTAs but not at any cost.


More on Big Travel Card Rewards

There has been a lot of travel news around credit cards lately and for good reason. The recession has prompted travel card companies to offer large signup rewards to selected new customers. I linked to couple of articles last week, but this one has some information that wasn’t covered in those articles.


Google’s Changes Increase its Revenue & Advertisers’ Expenses

Travel digital ad spending is increasing, and some of the increase is due to the need to maintain search result visibility in the wake of Google search algorithm, UI and self-promotional changes. It is probable that Google’s changes are allowing it to increase revenue and profit  at the expense of its advertisers. A new Hotel Price Ads feature, comes with particular pros and cons for OTAs: OTAs can often be the winning bidder for a Hotel Price Ad, but its functionality overlaps with OTAs own search engines and could cut engagement within OTA sites.

  • Ad Spending: Tnooz
  • Hotel Price Ads coverage: HotelNewsNow
  • More on the implications of new Google features and why it probably doesn’t want to be an OTA (it would cut into its ad and referral revenue): HotelNewsNow 

Mobile Devices Enhance Hotel Rooms

Hotels can leverage guests’ and hotel-provided mobile devices to offer more and better services and reduce the in-room clutter.


Universal-Disney Reverse Price War

Universal and Disney one-upping each other with theme park price increases:

Fox Travel News 

New Tips for Best Airfares

Tips for snagging the best airfares, including some I haven’t seen mentioned much before, such as Twitter and Facebook deals.

Fox Travel News

Beautiful Travel Pics

A couple of travel aspiration slide shows for you:


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