Travel Suppliers Make Most Online Sales • Petition for Airfare Transparency • Onity Lock Thefts • 60 Travel Briefs • Travel Aspirations

See Travel Aspirations no. 4 at the bottom of this post to learn about the Zombies of Kilimanjaro.
Photo Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

Suppliers make the Majority of Online Travel Sales and the Gap is Widening

For all the complaining that hotels and airlines do about pricing pressure from online travel agencies, you would think that OTAs had all the power in the market. The numbers suggest a different story. Industry analyst firm PhoCusWrite predicts that supplier websites will account for 66% of online bookings in 2014. About 75% of online air bookings are done on airlines’ sites. By separating their product into core and ancillary components airlines have made it more difficult for consumers to book through third parties (and as noted in the petition referenced in the next item, to do comparison shopping).

Travel Weekly

Whitehouse.Gov Petition Calls for Regulation on Airfare Transparency

The American Business Travel Coalition has launched an online petition at Whitehouse.Gov seeking U.S. DOT regulation to require airlines to provide full pricing information to travel agencies. Proponents of the petition will have to step up their get-out-the-vote effort substantially to reach the Whitehouse’s threshold for formal consideration. They need to get 25,000 signatures by December 25th but between November 15th when the petition was submitted, and November 29th, the total rose to just 790.

Tnooz has some additional details:


Hotel Thefts Linked to Onity Lock Vulnerability

I’ve shared multiple stories about vulnerabilities in Onity electronic door locks, found in hotels worldwide, over the past few months (2012-07-24, 2012-08-27 & 2012-10-04). The locks have serious cryptographic and design weaknesses and Onity’s response when the problem was revealed was inadequate. Onity offered a free mechanical mitigation (plug the programming port and use non-standard screws) but refused to replace the circuit boards, where the actual problem lies, unless hotels paid for new boards.

Now comes word of the inevitable: thefts in several hotel rooms have been attributed to the lock vulnerability.


Travel Briefs

Internet Travel Industry

  1. Silicon Valley legislators go to bat for Google over FTC probe. Skift
  2. TripAdvisor’s Kaufer: “Business as usual” despite Priceline acquisition of Kayak. Skift
  3. Smartphone mobile advice: Don’t ride with Priceline customers at the wheel. Skift
  4. Follow The Money: Why Priceline Bought Kayak. TechCrunch
  5. The Kayak commercial that’s too “offensive” and “sickening” to air in the UK. Skift
  6. The travel startup fallout is here. Will anyone survive? PandoDaily
  7. How Expedia wiped a Georgia municipality off the map before the city prevailed. Skift
  8. TravelNerd launches a day-of-travel app to help flyers calculate unexpected airport costs. Skift
  9. Startup tries to take bookings for African hotels and tours into the 21st century. Skift
  10. Travel brands have the most complex online user experiences. Skift
  11. A proposal for OTAs and other large travel distributors to provide APIs for tour and activity suppliers. Tnooz
  12. Presentation tips for entrepreneurs pitching new travel innovations. Tnooz
  13. Everplaces claims to have the future of travel guides in its hands Tnooz
  14. Social media important in the inspiration and experience stages of travel, not for bookings. Tnooz
  15. Social loyalty in action – airport check-ins on social media for air miles Tnooz
  16. The GateGuru app’s developers attempted a pivot to add new and different functionality. Users hated it. GateGuru is responding to criticism as best it can. Skift
  17. WhichAirline reboots with Hipmunk-style visual flight search Tnooz
  18. In response to demand from Search Engine Optimization firms, some travel bloggers ask to be paid to place links on their sites. Tnooz


  1. FTC Warns Hotel Operators that Price Quotes that Exclude ‘Resort Fees’ and Other Mandatory Surcharges May Be Deceptive.
  2. Responding to the FTC, Hotels heard to say “Huh? Speak up, I can’t understand you…” HotelNewsNow
  3. Major hotel brands are spending big to add TripAdvisor reviews and social features to their sites because those features increase bookings. HotelNewsNow
  4. More hotels are opening in Brazil than anywhere else in Latin America. Skift
  5. New Orleans Hotel Prices Soar as Much as 590% for Super Bowl.
  6. All-inclusive resorts, long popular in Mexico and the Caribbean, are suddenly a hot topic in the U.S. HotelNewsNow


  1. U.S. carrier consolidation impacts domestic and international passenger growth. Skift
  2. For United, Big Problems at Biggest Airline following Merger with Continental. New York Times
  3. Major labor troubles rearing heads again at U.S. airlines. Skift
  4. Southwest Airlines rewards the big frequent flyers prize to Skift
  5. Airfares from Pittsburg to NYC will skyrocket when JetBlue drops its daily flights in February. Skift
  6. American Airlines liking Apple Passbook so far and considering new features. Skift
  7. Emirates would buy an 800-passenger mega-jet if it existed. Skift
  8. Bangkok Airways tests makeshift premier class and can revert if it doesn’t work. Skift
  9. Smart airlines learning that female frequent flyers have different preferences from males. Wall Street Journal
  10. Airbus turns a Boeing plane into Pinocchio in ad designed to debunk the rival’s claims. Skift
  11. Airline ‘pit crews’ work to keep flights on time. CNN
  12. El Al shows a sense of humor with Facebook campaign [VIDEO] Tnooz
  13. This is the world’s best airline TV ad in 2012, says AdWeek [VIDEO] Tnooz
  14. Air New Zealand Unveils Hobbit-Themed Boeing 777. NYCAviation
  15. Ever wonder why airplane food always tastes so bad?
  16. Purple Haze: Onboard Thai Airways New Boeing 777-300ER. You’ll either think it’s pretty or that it should be confined to a Flight-Crew-Barbie playset. NYCAviation

General Travel Industry

  1. SkiftAds of the Week: Air France’s creative new music app hides songs in the sky. Skift
  2. Taiwan hoping for tourism boost from movie Life of Pi. Skift
  3. Tourism is helping to drive Dubai’s greatest economic growth in five years. Skift
  4. The next generation of high-speed trains in Japan will float at 301mph. Skift
  5. Miami airport’s new Food Network restaurant averaging 1,500 customers a day. Skift
  6. If only India functioned as well as this incredible “Incredible India” ad [VIDEO] Skift
  7. Airport Car Rentals: The Next $10 Billion Industry Ready For Disruption. TechCrunch
  8. Brand USA formally welcomes new CEO and embarks on version 2.0. Skift
  9. Airport adds personal touch to woo big-spending Chinese. Reuters
  10. Hamburg hotel created for ‘next generation’ travelers wins European design award. Skift
  11. New Zealand Wants a Hollywood Put on Its Map. New York Times

Consumer Travel News and Advice

  1. New York and Orlando will be Americans’ favorite holiday hot spots this year. Skift
  2. Mostly, people just care about an extra week of vacation as biggest work benefit. Skift
  3. Flyers tag their own bag as part of a growing trend towards self-service at airports. Skift
  4. U.S. government issues Honduras travel warning for what it says is the world’s most dangerous country. Skift
  5. The week after Thanksgiving until mid-December is one of the cheapest times to travel. The best and cheapest places to hit? Read on.
  6. The TSA has decided that snow globes are no longer terrorist objects. Seriously. Jaunted
  7. Need more room for your knees and tray table? You need the knee defender! Prevents the goon in front of you from reclining their seat. [Please note: I’m reporting here, not advocating.] Gadget Duck


  1. Expedia is a sponsor of the Seattle-based fundraiser PassportsWithPurpose, beginning November 28th! Every donation of $10 enters you into a specific travel blogger’s goodie drawing. Won’t you join us travel fans to raise money for fresh water in Haiti? PassportsWithPurpose
  2. lists some little-known places to get into the holiday spirit.

Travel Aspirations:

  1. If you’re like me, you eat your way around the world. Here is a list of the world’s most iconic street foods that every traveler must eat….
  2. A Brit becomes the first person ever to travel to all 201 sovereign world states without
  3. Travel insiders vote on the Top 10 best places to experience Christmas.
  4. Our friend and ardent traveler Joel Oleson climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro this year. As they near the 19,341 ft (5895 m) summit, Joel reports that many hikers enter into a zombie-like state and must be moved along by their guides.

Part 1: Mt Kilimanjaro: The Ultimate Hike
Part 2: Zombies on Kilimanjaro – My Trek on the Marangu Route


  • Thanks to Muhammad Mahdi Karim, Joel Oleson and Michael Noel for their excellent Kilimanjaro content!
  • Thanks to TCTReview collaborator Denise Jones for her help in curating links for this post.

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