February 26, 2024

How Important Is Google Travel to Google?

Skift Take

From political challenges to internal reassessments, Google Travel is clearly going through a transition.

It was the first big week of earnings this season, with numbers out of Accor, Google, Hilton, Southwest, Wyndham, and Royal Caribbean. They were, for the most part, upbeat – Hilton’s CEO said, “We had the best booking quarter in our history, ever.” One note: Google Travel was low on Google’s priorities.

You can follow those headlines, and more, below. And you can hop over to the new Skift Travel News Quiz to test your knowledge of it all. We think it’s a fun way to review the week, but we’ll let you be the judge.

This Week’s News

Google Travel Is Not Named Among Alphabet’s Key Priorities
Google’s key priorities are artificial intelligence, retail, and YouTube. Travel is still an important vertical — it’s just not a top focus. More: Google Hotels and Google Flights Stir Bipartisan Flack

AI Travel Tools Are Getting Better: We Tested Two
Some generative AI tools for travel booking are getting more impressive, and some are not.

Accor’s Ennismore Reveals No-points, Paid Membership Called ‘Dis-loyalty’
Turning conventional on its head appears to be the blueprint for Ennismore’s approach to hospitality, with its new loyalty program focused on lifestyle design and spreading revenue beyond its hotel rooms. More: Accor’s Profit Soared on Rebound Across Regions and Hotel Types

Sonder Unveils New Hotel Collection
Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks closer at Sonder’s first sub-brand, Ennismore’s first loyalty program, and India’s outbound volume. More: Sonder Proposes Reverse Stock Split to Stay Listed on Nasdaq

Trip.com Releases Upgraded Trip Planning AI Chatbot
Trip.com beat its biggest competitors in the West with the release of a generative AI chatbot early this year, and the company beat them again with its first major chatbot upgrade.

Expedia in Deal to Power Walmart Travel
Walmart is a giant retailer but it’s possible Hopper was a more meaningful client for Expedia. At any rate, Walmart is potentially a significant win, and at least it isn’t a competitor.

Hilton Hotels Sees No Slowdown in Travel Surge
Slowdown? What slowdown? Hilton sees the boom rolling on. In other news, the company said it would add a hotel brand in the “luxury lifestyle” segment in the next year or so.

Women’s World Cup Ignites Aussie Tourism Surge, Led by U.S. Visitors
After years of strict lockdowns, Australia has a run of international sporting events which will support the nation’s tourism return.

Hopper Shows No Quit After Expedia Breakup
Hopper is just fine with its fintech strategy – despite the Expedia breakup – confident in the value of its products and features, and ready to explore new relationships in the travel industry.

Southwest Airlines’ Former CEO Gary Kelly Was Right About the Corporate Travel Recovery
Southwest is rejigging its route map with the expectation that there will be fewer road warriors traveling for some time to come.

Disney Magic Key Lawsuit Settlement Puts Program Under Spotlight
Disney will be phasing out its advanced park reservation system in 2024, part of the controversy in the recent Dream Key Pass lawsuit. What this means for crowd control going forward remains to be seen.

Chart of the Week

Earlier this month Skift released the annual Skift State of Travel report, which both looks back on the past 18 months and looks forward into 2024 using both partner and proprietary research. In the 250+ slides, our team reveals key stats in regions around the world, including the Caribbean and Latin America as you see above.

Join us for a special LinkedIn Live event on Join us on August 2, 11am ET, when Skift Research’s Seth Borko, Varsha Arora, and Pranavi Agarwal take a deep dive into the insights defining the state of travel today and the trends that will shape the future. Register Today.

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