Kayak To Establish Direct Hotel Bookings

They entered a white-label partnership with the Travelocity Partner Network. The Travelocity Partner Network which interestingly is not part of Kayak’s metasearch results will be the merchant of records and thus functions as the travel agent.

Since it is not an exclusive deal, Kayak can bring in other partner and might also extend its direct booking offers to flights or car rentals.

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Bing Uses Kayak For Its Travel Metasearch – Another Chapter In The Google-ITA Story

As reported by Tnooz, Kayak and Microsoft’s Bing will enter a strategic alliance. This is remarkable for two reasons: First, Kayak and Bing used to be – and in a way still are- competitors and second, this alliance is directly connected with the Google-ITA deal that still is being investigated by the Department of Justice.

Starting in a few weeks Kayak, the leading metasearch site, will power Bing’s metasearch for flights. Most likely other services will follow. Kayak could for example supply Bing’s hotel search which is currently sponsored by Orbitz. Bing plans to use Kayak’s search results as a basis for new innovative travel search offers, such as autosuggest solution, price predictor, rate indicator and Flight Answers.
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The Open Axis Forum In Miami

On Thursday, February 24, a diverse group of travel industry members met at the Open Axis Forum at the Hilton Hotel, Miami to discuss the status of their proposed XML standards as the electronic messaging structure for airline system connectivity.

In his keynote presentation Jim Young, Executive Director of the Open Axis Group, delivered a status update on current developments of Distribution 2.0, a standardized traveler authenticated based set of XML schema and distribution practices, and the future plans to promote this Open Axis XML standard. Continue reading 


RIM, Nokia And The Fight For Market Shares

Ever since Google and Apple entered the market, well-established manufacturers of mobile phones struggle to keep their market shares. In order to survive in the market, RIM and Nokia take different approaches to differentiate themselves from the competition.

To strengthen its position among business travelers, one of its main target groups, Research in Motion, the company behind BlackBerry, has just launched a new travel app called Blackberry Travel. Continue reading 


Google Expands Hotel Offers

Hotel offers on Google Maps have been around for quite a while now, but only for a limited number of advertisers. However, the company announced it would expand its pay-per-click Hotel pricing ads in Google Maps.

Considering Google’s ITA-acquisition, it is interesting to see how they foster their travel-related services. Although it is too early to say what this will ultimately mean for the travel industry, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look.

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Riots In Egypt – Implications For The Travel Industry

Much has happened during the last days. It all started in Tunisia with the self-immolation of a street vendor that led to massive protests and ultimately the end of the Tunisian regime. In a short time, protests spread across the entire region affecting countries such as Jordan, Morocco and Yemen. However, the protests in these countries are nothing compared to what is happening in Egypt right now.

Over the last days hundreds of thousand people have been demonstrating in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and other Egyptian cities to end the 30-year long rule of President Mubarak. Continue reading 


Google-ITA Deal: Background, Forecast, Analysis Of Current Situation

Quite a while ago Google proposed its acquisition of technology provider ITA for $ 700 million. This caused turmoil in the industry and led to an investigation by the Department of Justice to find out if this acquisition violates antitrust law.

Since experts assume that there will be a judgement soon, it is time to review all the facts, analyze the current situation and the implications this acquisition might have for the travel industry. Continue reading 


Travel Industry: Full Content Agreements Vs Direct Connections

Besides being up to date with the newest technologies across industries, as a travel technology provider we are constantly observing the current developments in our industry from a business perspective. Among the hottest topics: full Content Agreements vs. Direct Connections or Google’s “alleged” market entry.

With Airlines such as AA moving away from the GDS-dependent distribution model to Direct Connections with Agencies and TMC’s some say this will finally establish a foundation for innovation in travel distribution; for the first time since almost half a century there would be a serious alternative to the GDSs while creating an incentive for TMCs to accelerate the development of their software. Economically the GDSs behavior in the last years is easy to understand: Continue reading 


GDS and OTA: New Year, Not So New Conflicts

We all celebrated New Year’s Eve and hope for an exciting New Year. And I am confident that 2011 will have much to offer for us, but right now, we seem to deal with the same problems as in 2010.

The travel industry still centers on the conflict between the GDSs, OTAs and American Airlines and its direct connects. This time, two big players, namely Expedia and Sabre, have made their moves against American Airlines’ direct connect.

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Travel Industry Experts Predicting Trends For 2011

Much has happened in 2010: Airlines such as AA have started pulling their content off the GDSs to foster their own direct connections, Google has acquired ITA and mobile apps were omnipresent, just to mention a few things. Now, with less than two weeks left in this year, Tnooz has asked industry experts what they believe will be the major travel industry trends in 2011. And they made some very interesting predictions.

The following is a list of the most remarkable predictions and their implications: Continue reading 


Reclining Your Seat In The Plane – Right or Privilege?

CNN recently reported on an in incident that took place on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Denver: When a passenger reclined his seat, he got into a heated argument with the passenger sitting behind him. As he insisted on his “right” to recline his seat, the passenger behind him grabbed his ear and pulled it back and down. When the aircraft landed, the attacker was arrested by the police.

What sounds like a rather amusing story, raises an interesting question: Is reclining your seat a right or is it a privilege? Continue reading 


Customer Needs As A Scale Of Rating For Travel Technology – Not Vice Versa

Around $ 22.6 billion – is the estimated additional revenue in 2010 that airlines are generating by direct sales to passengers or additional trip-related services, the so-called ancillary services. An increase in the years to come is expected.

On the occasion of the PASS Travel Talk, Farelogix CEO, Jim Davidson pointed out the huge revenue that is possible, by unbundling flights into individual services to complement other services and then pricing these “modules”, such as Door-to-door baggage service, lounge access or jump-the-line. The customer receives and pays only what he wants – Click & Buy.

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Google vs. Facebook – Who Will Be The Future No.1 In The Internet?

Google for a long time seemed to be the undisputed champion when it comes to search on the internet. It successfully put rivals such as Yahoo and Microsoft out of the market, becoming the leading search engine in the world. But search is not where Google makes its money; it’s advertising that accounts for the biggest part in Google’s overall revenues.

So even if they are the dominant search engine, the “real war” is about advertising revenues and it is not decided yet: Even though Google’s advertising revenues were about $7 billion in Q3 2010 which is much higher than Facebook’s estimated ad revenues of about $ 1.3 billion a year, with 23.1% in Q3 2010 Facebook has the biggest share in the market for display ad impressions. Continue reading 


Expedia To Acquire Mobiata

Last week Expedia – the world’s largest travel company – announced the acquisition of Mobiata to improve its position in the fast growing mobile travel market. Mobiata is a mobile travel app developer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since its creation in 2008 Mobiata has developed several top selling mobile travel applications such as FlightTrack, TripDeck or HotelPal.

Keeping this in mind the acquisition clearly indicates the growing importance of mobile devices in travelling. State-of-the-art mobile phones such as Blackberry or iPhone and easy accessible high-speed internet connections at almost every location in the world have provided the basis for convenient mobile booking. Continue reading 


Google Raises Salaries By 10 Percent

As reported by wired.com, Google awarded all its employees with a 10% pay raise. In times of economic recession and a troubled world economy this is a very remarkable decision that comes with a huge price tag for Google.

What could be the reasons behind this bold decision? From a business point-of-view this move is interesting, because it shows that Google tries very hard to keep its talented workers and to prevent them from quitting their jobs at Google and start their own businesses or move to other, competing companies like Facebook, Twitter etc. Continue reading 


Statement About Travelport’s “Myth-Busting”

These days, direct connections and the GDSs’ ability to display airlines’ ancillary services are an important issue for the travel industry and each side’s opinions are diametrically opposed. Travelport has published a statement concerning AA’s direct connect. Travelport disagrees with AA and claims most of AA’s statements to be “myths”.

Although Travelport’s argumentation seems valid at first glance, when thinking about it you realize that things are not as easy as Travelport would like them to be. We believe there is a need for clarification. So, to understand our point-of-view, please read the following statement: Continue reading 


First Green Screen Mobile Booking Application Launched

Tnooz recently reported on a green screen mobile booking application developed by Mobile Travel Technologies for the GDS Abacus. It is the first time that a green screen and mobile booking have been combined. This is interesting insofar as green screens are just the opposite of what could be considered an innovation.

They use the same cryptic, DOS-like commands agents have been using 20 years ago and yet – or maybe therefore – they are extremely popular among travel agents. It seems, for many travel agents green screens are more efficient and faster to handle than modern GUIs (Graphical User Interface).
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Ancillary Revenues – Blessing or Curse?

According to a study recently published by Amadeus and IdeaWorks Airlines’ ancillary revenues will increase from $13.5 billion in 2009 to $22.6 billion this year. In 2009 United Airlines had a total of about $1.5 billion in ancillary revenues.

For airlines ancillary revenues accounted for a huge part of their total revenues, like Allegiant (29.2%), Spirit Airlines (23.9%) and RyanAir (22.2%). This clearly indicates the importance of ancillary fees for the entire travel industry including low-cost-carriers, traditional airlines travel agencies and the GDSs.
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Facebook Apps Leak User Info – How Safe Is The Internet?

A Wall Street Journal investigation has revealed that several Facebook apps including the top 10 Apps have been leaking user information to third party companies, in particular users’ unique Facebook ID, which grants access to the users’ names and names of their friends.

With about 500 million registered users and still growing, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. And about 70% of its users use apps each month to play games or to customize their own Facebook pages. Considering the huge number of users, leaking sensitive data to advertising companies is a serious issue. Continue reading 


PASS XX/1 Multi-GDS Hub Offers Comprehensive Connectivity

The recently announced partnership between Hotel Reservation Systems (HRS) and Concur is supposed to not only provide mutual clients with rich hotel content but at the same time lower travel costs.

This cooperation means that any of Concur’s corporate customers can now access HRS’s hotel content directly from their online corporate booking tool. Providing direct access to more than 250.000 hotels in 180 countries that are both chain and independent hotels make HRS the largest non-GDS source of online hotel content available today.
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