1. Travelling Millenials
2. Corporate housing is adapting to less cookie-cutter times
3. Barceló launches Barceló Experiences
Large hotel companies understand the need to adapt to emerging travel trends and target travelers searching for unique experiences. Barceló Experiences
is a newly launched platform for guests to design a personalized trip and transform a stay into a more unique experience. Currently available in 9 cities. Other hotels have also launched experience centric programs, such as Hyatt FIND
, a platform with 150 experiences in 35 destinations around the world.
4. Private Equity firm Accel-KKR is bullish on hotel tech
5. Google adds Vacasa to vacation rental search
In March, Google added vacation rental properties to its Hotel Search function, with partners such as Expedia, HomeAway, Vrbo and TripAdvisor (Airbnb and Booking remain absent). Google is now adding the first vacation rental management brand
through a partnership with Portland-based Vacasa. In July Vacasa announced its acquisition (this coming fall) of Wyndham Vacation Rentals for $162 million, which will nearly double Vacasa’s inventory to 23.000 properties.
6. OYO acquires Danamica to drive dynamic pricing in rentals
In yet another move to show its commitment to the vacation rentals business, OYO acquired data science business Danamica
for an estimated $10 million. The Denmark-based company specializes in dynamic pricing of rental properties. As mentioned in Travel Tech Essentialist #8
, Oyo wants to build the largest vacation rental business in Europe, and is planning to invest $335 million and recruit 1000 employees in Europe in the effort. In May, Oyo bought holiday rental company @Leisure for $415 million and rebranded it to Oyo Vacation Homes.
7. SEO best practices
Organic traffic is one of the main sources of traffic for travel brands. Here are 7 basic SEO best practices
that work for some of travel’s largest brands. Basic principles such as homepage text, internal links and keyword-targeted landing pages.
8. Virtual Reality in-flight entertainment
Experiences can also be delivered at 35.000 feet. I wrote in Travel Tech Essentialist #3
about French startup Skylights as a promising startup to watch. British Airways announced that it will start offering Skylights VR headsets
in a trial through the end of 2019 for first class passengers from London to New York.
9. Funding, acquisitions and partnerships
- Dutch hotel technology startup Mews raised $33 million, bringing the total to date to $41.6 million. The company was launched in 2012 and has a client base of 1000 properties.
- Berlin-based RV-sharing platform PaulCamper raised €7 million. Founded in 2013, the company has more than 5,500 motorhomes, trailers and camper vans across Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
- eCommerce platform PROS acquired Travelaer to offer an end-to-end retailing solution for airlines, enabling them to transform the traveler’s digital experience across all retail channels: web, mobile, and New Distribution Capability (NDC) platform.
- MisterFly is partnering with Kiwi.com to strengthen its flights virtual interlining offering. Misterfly will be rolling out the self-connecting product to its B2B clients as well, which comprise 50% of MisterFly’s sales (L'Echo Touristique - in French)
10. Promising startups
These two startups make traveling as a local easier, delivering experiences though carbon-based and silicon based intelligence:
- Born in Valencia, Spain in 2017, GuruWalk is the largest global platform for free walking tours with 1000 active guides, offering walking tours across 500 cities in 88 countries. GuruWalk has raised $400.000 so far, In August it generated €35.000 in revenues and had 70.000 “Walkers” taking tours.
Sherpa was founded in Chicago in 2019 to bring augmented reality avatar guides to walking tours. They have 25 AR walking tours available and plan to have 100 tours by the end of 2020.