2013-09-13 TravelTech News Review

Online Travel Industry

  1. Hotwire Needs to Pivot Toward Last-Minute and Mobile, Expedia CEO says – Skift
    The article quotes lots of strategic insights from Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
  2. Expedia tests Shazamable travel ads – would you, seriously? | Tnooz
    Expedia is testing a new use for the popular Shazam music matching app. Rather than using the app to identify unknown music, users point Shazam at an Expedia TV ad and Shazam displays links to download Expedia apps, and Expedia web and Facebook pages.
  3. Doing business online: The how, why and when of user reviews | Tnooz
    Useful findings for review-centric businesses.
  4. The effect of travel reviews on business travel – eTurboNews.com
    Gurus don’t think travel reviews will impact business travel much. I’m not so sure.
  5. A brief history of travel technology – from its evolution to looking at the future | Tnooz
    Excellent article. It’s a bit lengthy but very useful reading for everyone working at Expedia. It documents major historical shifts and predicts the next one will be personalization.
  6. Booking.com winning the multichannel stakes, apps and mobile sites lagging overall | Tnooz
    The Hotels.com mobile app ranks highest out of all sites and apps.
  7. Ignore the rapid rise of mobile at your peril [INFOGRAPHIC] | Tnooz
  8. Priceline Introduces Sponsored Listings in a Move Toward Increasing Ad Revenue – Skift
    Priceline copies Expedia in this case.
  9. TripAdvisor’s New Metasearch Is Falling Short of Expectations – Skift
    Third quarter results are likely to disappoint, but TripAdvisor’s metasearch has long-term potential.
  10. TripAdvisor on Buying Travel Startups: “We Will Continue to Be Acquisitive” – Skift
    My question is: “Is it paying off for them?”
  11. TripAdvisor Pausing TV Advertising Campaign After Disappointing Tests
    TRIP denies it is canceling a planned $40-$50 million TV ad campaign, but no ads in the series have run since July. Their stock is down and the ad campaign delay is seen as positive for Expedia and Priceline since they have less broadcast competition.
  12. How Mobile Travel Apps Have Transformed the User Experience – Skift
    Great series of A/B screenshots of early and current versions of top mobile travel apps. Make sure to go through the slide show at the top of the article and read the captions.
  13. Triptelligent sets sail with a shore excursions marketplace for tour operators | Tnooz
    This startup acts as a booking agent for local tour companies to offer an alternative to cruise-line shore excursions.
  14. Airbnb Makes a Movie Using 6-Second Vines, Twitter, and a Piece of Paper – Skift
    Crowd source your advertising.


  1. Hilton Hotels Files For $1.25 Billion IPO – Skift
  2. What Blackstone and Hilton Have Been Doing Behind Closed Doors – Skift
    It appears that Blackstone actually improved Hilton during its period of private ownership.
  3. The Hampton Hotels Ad Campaign That Gave the Chain a Personality – Skift
    I haven’t paid much attention to Hampton, but I have to say that this ad campaign is competently done.
  4. Losing control – a worrying vision of the future for hotels | Tnooz
    A hotelier’s nightmare scenario where hotels become nothing more than white label suppliers to high-brand-equity OTAs. I think the truth, which we see today, is that well-run hotels that intelligently manage a good distribution mix through their own and OTA channels, can prosper. It’s the hotels with 2nd tier management quality that have to fear the scenario. You won’t succeed on autopilot in today’s hospitality industry.
  5. Microhotels Pod and Yotel expand – Travel Weekly
  6. Global hotel prices rise to levels not seen since 2006 – eTurboNews.com

Air Travel

  1. Alaska Air shows off Q400s it plans to use in Alaska
    I flew on a Q400 on my last trip and enjoyed the experience. The popular Bombardier turboprop is set to replace 737s between Anchorage and Fairbanks for a 30% cost savings.
  2. JetBlue’s CEO Says Merged American Air Shouldn’t Be Able to Combine D.C. Slots – Skirt
  3. Southwest Knows How to Make Flyers Pay More Despite Bags-Fly-Free Mantra – Skift
    There are lots of ways for airlines to make ancillary revenue other than by charging for checked bags. This article details several of them.
  4. United Temporarily Shuts Down Booking System After Glitch Sells $5 Fares – Skift
    We need alerts when these things happe—on the off-chance the we can score a cheap fare and airline will honor it.
  5. Virgin America takes off with highest honors at Passenger Choice Awards – eTurboNews.com
    I can agree with this. I enjoy flying Virgin—the flight safety cards feature real hipsters performing all the emergency procedures.
  6. In-Flight Wi-Fi Provider Gogo Teams Up with Amazon for Card-Free Payments – Skift
  7. Gogo’s New Wi-Fi Will Be Fastest in the Air, But Won’t Stream Video – Skift
    Gogo’s big announcement this week.
  8. Consumer demand for global in-flight WiFi is greater than ever | Tnooz
    Survey shows that consumers are willing to trade a large number of other amenities for inflight WiFi. In general, surveys that ask respondents to make tradeoffs will better predict actual consumer behavior so there may be something to this. Perhaps Expedia Inc. brands should resell Gogo and other inflight WiFi service.
  9. The Airline Industry’s Fuel Gap: Which Brands Save Money, Which Don’t – Skift
    There is a big gap between the most and least fuel-efficient airlines. With fuel making up such a large component of airline operating costs, I would guess that fuel efficiency is a good indicator of overall management quality.
  10. Fly Guy: New planes ease sting of higher airfares
    Decent WiFi, touch screen entertainment and better seating are enhancing airlines’ customer experience.
  11. Cows on Runways Show Indonesia Growth Challenge: Southeast Asia – Topic
  12. One US Airline Sells Flights in Bulk: 12 for $1,800 || Jaunted
    An innovative marketing model. It will be interesting to see if it succeeds.
  13. Small California agency fined for violating full-fare ad rule – Travel Weekly
  14. Another delay for proposed rule on display of ancillaries – Travel Weekly
  15. DOT fines Virgin America over safety videos – Travel Weekly
    Someone forgot to provide captions for the hard of hearing.
  16. Airplane Wi-Fi Gets Up to Speed – WSJ.com
  17. Airborne Wifi becoming useful rather than just a novelty.
  18. TSA to Begin Pre-Screening Flyers at Time of Ticket Purchase – Skift
    It’s nice to see the TSA proactively improving passenger experience.
  19. Low-Cost Carriers Reshaping Asia Pacific Airline Segment | Travel Research – Industry Events – PhoCusWright Conference
  20. “Low-cost carriers have proven to be an extremely disruptive force in APAC’s air market…”

General Travel News

  1. Americans Plan Further Ahead and Vacation for Longer in the Summer – Skift
    Nice Infographic.
  2. Desire to travel sees consumers make sacrifices and borrow says TripAdvisor [INFOGRAPHIC] | Tnooz
  3. Most recent data breaks down summer travel trends [INFOGRAPHIC] | Tnooz
  4. Skift Trends Report: The Independent Chinese Traveler In One Simple Infographic – Skift
  5. Travel MARKETING – Product news, launches and more – September 2013 | Tnooz
    A few items of interest here: National Geographic has reorganized all of its travel media into one unit. American Express has sold Travel + Leisure (great travel magazine) and Departures to Time, Inc. Air France is using EAN to power hotel reservations on its domestic website.
  6. Time Inc. to acquire American Express Publishing – Travel Weekly
    More details of the AMEX to Time sale. Turns out Time has been providing services to the publications for years.
  7. Double-Digit Tourism Growth to U.S. from Emerging Economies While Europe Drops – Skift
  8. China’s Richest Man Plans to Funnel Billions into Overseas Hospitality Companies – Skirt

Destinations and Experiences

  1. How to have lots of sax on the NYC subway | Matador Network
    Fun video of a saxophone battle/jam on the New York subway.
  2. Gorgeous resorts for outdoorsy travelers
  3. Love padlocks threaten Paris’ beloved Pont des Arts
  4. Incredible fall foliage hikes
  5. Wish You Were Here: The Wide, Open Spaces of Wyoming || Jaunted
  6. World’s largest cave to open for first public tours | Fox News
    This is just awesome. Make sure to view the slideshow. Another reason to visit Vietnam.
  7. Myanmar opens new border checkpoints to increase tourism – eTurboNews.com
  8. Naples: Italy’s Scariest City? » Have Tips, Will Travel

Denise’s Picks

  1. Rhinos Now Extinct In Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park | Gadling.com
    Another species goes extinct. *sigh*
  2. Czech Republic vs. Chechnya: 7 other places for Americans to confuse | Matador Network
    Remember the Chechnya bomber? Apparently we in the US have confused his particular nation a few times…
  3. ‘Game of Thrones’ tours launched in Croatia and Northern Ireland – CNN.com
    Like “Game of Thrones”? Now you can travel it…
  4. Europe’s 10 strangest tourist attractions
    If you like weird, off-the-beaten-path stuff, try this list of Weird Stuff in Europe. Sadly, while I’ve visited many of these cities, I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing any of these sights…
  5. Travel Immunizations | IndependentTraveler.com
    Everything you need to know about travel immunizations.
  6. UNESCO Adds 19 New World Heritage Sites – Rapid Travel Chai
    I love UNESCO Heritage sites- they’re often the best a nation has to offer. And they’ve added 19 new ones to explore!
  7. 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Volunteering Abroad – Vagabondish
    I spent a few months volunteering abroad, and this article is quite accurate. If you want to volunteer abroad, read it.
  8. Pyramid in Peru torn down by developers | World news | theguardian.com
    Remember the Mayan pyramid that was torn down by greedy a**hats from the last Travel Discussion list? It’s happened again. In Peru, this time.
  9. Places to see incredible natural phenomena
    A list of the best places to see natural phenomena. I have seen 3; I will bet most of you have seen 1 (hint: it’s right near Seattle!).
  10. Flight Attendant Accused Of Smuggling Rat In Her Underwear | Gadling.com
    Is that a rat in your pocket, or are you just happy to see your passengers?
  11. Six Ways to Prolong the Joy of Travel – Vagabondish
    I love this article!! I realized I do all 6 things obsessively.
  12. 11 Ideas for Traveling Europe on the Cheap (er) |
    Europe is expensive. Here’s how to make it cheaper.
  13. Budget Travel Advice: Top 10 Travel Mistakes and How Not to Make Them | Travel Deals, Travel Tips, Travel Advice, Vacation Ideas | Budget Travel
    Are you one of those people who goes on a dream trip, then is usually disappointed? Here’s some mistakes a lot of travelers make.
  14. The Carry-On Challenge: How to Pack Light Every Time | IndependentTraveler.com
    I only travel with 1 bag, regardless of destination or length of trip. It’s super easy, and way cheaper!! Here’s a great how-to.
  15. How to Travel Solo – Departful
    Ever considered solo travel? I once travelled solo for 8 weeks in Europe, and loved it. But it does require a mindset change.
  16. Bland and Dull Contemplate Tourism Partnership – Vagabondish
    This made me laugh out loud. Three cheers for Boring, Dull, and Bland!!
  17. 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World «TwistedSifter
    If you love travel, you love maps. If you love maps, YOU WILL LOVE THIS ARTICLE. (note: I love this article)
  18. Budget Travel How-To: 10 Travel Apps That Save You Time and Money | Travel Deals, Travel Tips, Travel Advice, Vacation Ideas | Budget Travel
    Indispensible travel apps. I would also add Waze to this list.
  19. And Denise’s OMG-This-is-Awesome travel find of the week: at EatWith.com
    You search for a destination, and find a home cook who will make a meal for you in that city. We’ll be using this in Copenhagen in the fall…and it might be a rumor, but maybe my chef-husband is a Seattle option.


  1. Apple: The Beginning of a Long Decline?
    The provocative headline: first step in creating a high-traffic blog post.
  2. Apple Shares Down More Than 5 Percent Following New iPhone Event – John Paczkowski – Mobile – AllThingsD
    As of today they’re still down. Now Apple stakeholders know how their Microsoft counterparts have felt for the past decade.
  3. Unlocked 16GB Yellow iPhone 5c is first to sell out, available to ship by 9/25 (Update: 1-2 weeks in Hong Kong) | 9to5Mac
    Proof that Apple Fans have been envying Nokia?
  4. Walmart to sell iPhone 5C for $79, iPhone 5S for $189 | Apple – CNET News
  5. Best Buy will trade you a free iPhone 5 for your old smartphone — Tech News and Analysis
    Dig that old phone out of the closet.
  6. T-Mobile boasts record August as it preps for iPhone 5S, 5C | Mobile – CNET News
    T selling the 5S for $99 and the 5C for no money down!
  7. With iBeacon, Apple is going to dump on NFC and embrace the internet of things — Tech News and Analysis
    Apple has always dumped on NFC. This article explains why.
  8. Apple: New iPhone Not Storing Fingerprints, Doesn’t Like Sweat – Digits – WSJ
  9. iPhone’s M7 motion processor to integrate with Maps as Apple develops indoor mapping, public transit | 9to5Mac
  10. AnandTech | Some Thoughts about the iPhone 5S Camera Improvements
    Interesting read for camera and optics geeks.
  11. 2015: 64-bit ARM chips in iPhone 5S serve up taste of Intel-free future for Apple | ZDNet
    Several commentators have speculated that the reason for the 64-bit chip on the iPhone 5s is to make the way for hardware and software architectural convergence between phones, tablets and computers.
  12. The real reasons Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip makes sense | Mobile – CNET News
    Some additional reasons.
  13. Is Apple’s new iPhone iOS 7 good for travelers? – CNN.com
    I think I would hate the automatic photo organization feature. It sounds like an advanced version of the OS X Finder photo organization, which I abhor. Let me organize things into my own folders please; at least give me the option to do so without forcing the system default on me.
  14. Forget “Cheap”, The iPhone 5c Is Clearly The iPhone Jony Ive Wanted For iOS 7 | TechCrunch
  15. New Apple TV in development, could arrive as soon as next month | 9to5Mac
  16. Twitter Releases Spotify App | Evolver.fm
  17. Coursera hits $1M in revenue through verified certificates — Tech News and Analysis
    First clue for those who were wondering how Massive Open Online Course providers will monetize.
  18. Nokia reinvented – Nokia Conversations : the official Nokia blog
    The future of Nokia after it’s Devices and Services group is incorporated into Microsoft.
  19. Behind Microsoft Deal, the Specter of a Nokia Android Phone – NYTimes.com
    Nokia actually had a Lumia phone running Android in its labs—not a difficult feat of course.
  20. Nuclear options: Microsoft was testing Surface Phone while Nokia experimented with Android | The Verge
    And Microsft prototyped several Surface phones.
  21. ‘Cortana’: More on Microsoft’s next-generation personal assistant | ZDNet
    Will Halo fans buy Windows Phone devices powered by Cortana?
  22. Fall 2013 Windows Tablet Preview | Windows 8 content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows
    With a more compelling line-up of devices and a UI redesigned from customer feedback, maybe Windows 8 will be more successful.
  23. Outlook Blog – Outlook.com now has IMAP
  24. Microsoft’s Concept Videos From 2000 Were Spot-On. So Why Didn’t Ballmer Build Any of It? – Bloomberg
    I think one of Ballmer’s problems is that he believed too much in the strategy of being a fast follower. It worked for Microsoft’s first quarter century, but the quality and agility of the competition increased in the new century and Microsoft missed some big opportunities.
  25. Dell reviving Venue mobile brand with new Windows 8.1 tablet
  26. Dell Shareholders Approve $25 Billion Buyout to Go Private – Arik Hesseldahl – News – AllThingsD
  27. Made in America: a look inside Motorola’s Moto X factory | The Verge
    Interesting photos of the production lines.
  28. Nest Buys Protection: Licenses Patents From Intellectual Ventures To Fight Honeywell, Others | TechCrunch
    Most techies I know dislike firms set up for the purpose of acquiring and licensing patents, but in this case, Intellectual Ventures is helping Nest to defend itself from an aggressive incumbent company.
  29. Patent Trolls Are Killing Startups — Except When They’re Saving Them | Wired Business | Wired.com
    Another example of a patent hoarder protecting a startup.
  30. BlackBerry to Lobby Government Over Foreign-Takeover Rule – Bloomberg
    Canadian foreign-takover rule could impede the sale of Blackberry and prevent shareholders from realizing any value from their investment.
  31. Tablet Shipments to Exceed Personal Computers Amid Mobile Shift – Businessweek
    We’ll pass this significant inflection point in the fourth quarter.

Security and Privacy

  1. At Sina Weibo’s censorship hub, China’s Little Brothers cleanse online chatter | Reuters
    Fascinating look at how government-mandated censorship is implemented on China’s popular microblogging service.
  2. Fingerprints and Passwords: A Guide for Non-Security Experts
    A long-recognized problem with using fingerprints for authentication is: what do you do if a hacker can reproduce your fingerprint? It’s not like a password that you can change.
  3. Did the FBI Lean On Microsoft for Access to Its Encryption Software?
    Sounds like it.
  4. No warrant, no problem: US gov’t uses travel alerts for warrantless electronics search | ZDNet
    If you would rather not have US government agencies see your electronic content, don’t travel with it.
  5. CloudFlare CEO: ‘Insane’ NSA gag order is costing U.S. tech firms customers
    The US should consider the high cost it is paying for its current security regime.
  6. NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports | Politics and Law – CNET News
    The NSA reportedly posed as Google in a successful Man in the Middle Attack.
  7. Government Standards Agency “Strongly” Suggests Dropping its Own Encryption Standard – ProPublica
    NIST is recommending against using SP 800-90A Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generation. The random number generator is used in a number of software products including several current versions of Microsoft Windows.

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