Tag Archive | "expedia"

American Airlines, BookIt.com and Hotels.com Continue to Lead Travel Fleet on Social Media

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes Feed

WalkMe Raises Another $25M For Its Platform To Get Around Websites And Software More Easily

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Expedia Buys Orbitz For $1.6B In Cash To Square Up To Priceline

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Roomlia Takes On HotelTonight With Mobile Hotel Reservations App

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Expedia Now Accepts Bitcoin For Your Crypto-Vacations

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ExtraHop Raises $41M Series C Round For Its Real-Time IT Analytics Service

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Google Said To Take On Kayak, Skyscanner And Others With Its Own Airfare Comparison Tool

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Google is reportedly working on an airfare comparison site, according to Ryanair founder Michael O’Leary speaking to the Sunday Independent. O’Leary was much more candid about Google’s upcoming plans than the search giant itself is ever likely to be, describing Mountain View’s intent to build a price shopping engine for comparing airline ticket prices.

Existing sites that compare flight prices including Kayak, Expedia, Skyscanner and others are at a disadvantage compared to Google, in that it can act with complete independence from the airlines it lists. Many travel sites enter into marketing arrangements with their airline partners, which is understandable as that’s the obvious revenue model to exploit. Google, however, is seeking only access to the data of airlines, asking nothing in return in terms of payment, and instead selling its standard ads on the back of its ability to reach a massive audience.

O’Leary told the Independent that it would be sharing its ticket pricing “with all of the Google outlets,” making it possible to find routes and cheapest ticket prices, presumably on multiple platforms powered by Google software. It’s unclear exactly how this might work in practice, but presumably users Googling for airfare to a certain destination would see a comparison table of flight options in results, or this could be built in to something like Google Now, the personal assistant built in to all Android devices on later versions of that OS.

We’ve reached out to Google to find out more about these plans, and will update this story if they provide additional details.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Restaurant Recommendation Service Nara Expands To Hotels

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Nara, a Cambridge, Mass.-based recommendation service, today announced that it is expanding its service from restaurant recommendations to also include hotels in about 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Nara, which calls itself a “computational neuroscience company that analyzes and personalizes Web data,” always had the ambition to be much more than just a restaurant recommendation services, as its CEO Thomas Copeman told me when the company announced its $4 million Series A round last year. Its aim is to create a fully personalized web for its users and its current recommendation systems are essentially just a proof-of-concept for the company.

The company, which recently landed Singapore’s SingTel as its first telco customer, uses the Expedia Affiliate Network to power its online bookings engine and TripAdvisor ratings and review to give its users more information about hotels. At the core, however, Nara uses its neural networking-based recommendation engine to learn about its user’s tastes and create what the company calls a “Digital DNA” profile for each one of its users.

“From its inception, Nara.me was built to be a 21st century personal Internet portal,” said Thomas Copeman, chief executive officer and founder of Nara in a statement today. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to delivering more personalized and relevant content to our users across essential consumer lifestyle categories on the web. Our initial foray into restaurants and, now, hotels is just the beginning of Nara’s capabilities. We are excited to bring the next generation of search to the hospitality, travel, and leisure markets.”

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Stayful Brings The Priceline Model To Boutique Hotels, Letting You Bid On Places To Stay In Realtime

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There’s a new travel site launching that’s focused on bringing real-time bidding to the boutique hotel market. The site, called Stayful, was founded by travel industry veterans from Expedia and Hotels.com and has raised $2.4 million in seed funding to attack the market.

The idea behind Stayful is to let users negotiate room rates for unsold inventory at independent or boutique hotels. So it’s created a platform that does just that, providing a listing of available hotels and suggested bids, and then letting the consumer do the work of bidding.

To enable this, Stayful is working with various independent or boutique hotels, and scanning available spots to try to determine inventory. Once it’s done that, it algorithmically determines the fair market price of each room and then provides that as the suggested bid price. Users don’t have to take that advice, and hey, they can put in a lowball offer.

Of course, the hotel doesn’t have to accept that bid. It can counter with a price of its own, which the user can accept. Or it can shoot down the bid altogether. But once a bid is finally accepted, the traveler gets a discounted rate, the hotels book rooms that would have otherwise stayed empty, and everyone ends up happy. (Yay!)

For hotels that aren’t already part of the system, users can submit requests or bids and try to get them on board. It’s, like, one way for Stayful to show that there’s interest in them on the platform.

So anyway, why would a traveler want to go through the trouble of bidding on a place when she could just go to a discount travel site or Hotel Tonight or whatever? Because Stayful provides more transparency to travelers who want to stay at a certain type of hotel. Also, it kind of makes them feel awesome to name a price and have a hotel bend to their will.

And for hotels? Well they get another way to fill rooms, while also maintaining control over their price. They also significantly lower the cost of obtaining new customers.

Stayful was founded by travel industry veterans Cheryl Rosner and Shariq Minhas. Rosner is CEO, after previously serving as president of Expedia Corporate Travel and Hotels.com, while Minhas led engineering at Jigsaw, and worked for travel sites Expedia and Hotwire. The company has raised $2.4 million in seed funding led by Canaan Partners, and counts Joie de Vivre founder Chip Conley and Room 77 CEO Drew Patterson as advisors.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Room 77 Closes $30.3 Million Series C From Expedia And Others To Take Its Hotel Search Engine Global

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Room 77

Room 77, a Mountain View, California-based company that operates a search engine for finding the lowest prices on hotel rooms, has closed on $30.3 million in new funding. This round, which counts as Room 77′s Series C, brings the total invested in the company to $43.8 million.

Travel search giant Expedia Inc. participated in the round as a new investor; existing investors in the company including Sutter Hill Ventures General Catalyst Partners, Felicis Ventures, Concur Technologies, Expedia’s founder Rich Barton, former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, and Hotwire co-founder and current Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff all chipped in as well.

The new money will be used to scale its product globally, the company says.

The hefty funding round shows a quick ascent for Room 77, as the company just launched in February of 2011. But it’s apparently a good time for hotel metasearch, and Expedia in particular is taking a keen interest in the space: Just last month Expedia spent some $630 million to acquire a majority stake in European hotel metasearch company Trivago.

From the start, Room 77 has adopted the strategy of doing one thing — hotel room search and booking — and doing it well. The company has built some pretty nifty features: It provides specific details about each hotel room at a property such as square footage, bed type, elevator proximity and if it is a connecting room. For each room, Room 77 also utilizes technology from Google Earth to generate a virtual “Room View,” which shows what you’ll see when you look out the window.

And while it may be a narrow focus, but it may be a very lucrative one. In a press release announcing the funding, Room 77 cites data that says the hotel vertical represents “the largest and most profitable category in online travel,” making more than $165 billion in gross bookings annually. The company says its own growth has been swift, and that its engine has facilitated the booking of “hundreds of thousands” of hotel rooms over the past nine months alone.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

October 2015
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