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A shifting metasearch landscape, loyalty through the lens and a reality check on driverless cars are among this month’s most-read stories

Did you miss anything this past month of September? If so here is the round up of what our readers found interesting.

1. Skyscanner strategy and the shifting metasearch landscape

Shane Corstorphine, GM Americas, Skyscanner is very clear in this story that metasearch absolutely not OTA in disguise. Instead it should be viewed as a platform to enable partners to rapidly access new distribution channels like app, voice or virtual assistants. He is also clear that it’s important for travel brands to retain their own strong identity. New distribution channels like Amazon Alexa, which launched in the UK this month and which Skyscanner will be providing flight search for, as well as artificial intelligence platforms are maturing and this is a space to watch. Corstophine will be speaking at EyeforTravel North America in Atlanta next week.

2. Why Red Lion-Expedia-Marriott raises some curious questions

This is a story of loyalty and we take a look at the ‘strange’ move by Red Lion to hand over its programme to Expedia. We consider how Expedia and Marriott will be working together in a more flexible way. The first has, in the main, hoteliers with throwing their hand in the air in despair. The second move, which allows Marriott bookers to earn points for flights, ground transport and tours & activities that are provided by Expedia and earn is being heralded as commendable. What is your view? In a follow up we look at further views to emerge from this story – oh, and don’t’ miss the chance to win a free silver pass to an EyeforTravel event.  

3. Rising Tiger: why investors are taking a long-term view on India

Sally White takes a look at the Indian travel space and finds that it is ‘expanding rapidly’, its ‘connectivity is rising’ and international players are investing. There is a lots to celebrate. Outbound travel numbers are expected to rise to 50 million by 2020 against 20 million last year, and Indians flying to the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are up by 18%.  Against this backdrop, White takes a look at moves by Indian OTA MakemyTrip which recently launched an app-only sale exclusively for international travel with a special focus on flights, hotels and packages. Also this month don’t miss China and the tourism boom.

4. A reality check on driverless cars.

In another popular read of the month, Sally White examines whether the flurry of excitement around the driverless revolution is anything more than, well, fluff. She outlines some of economic realities setting in for a number of ride-hauling companies and why deep pockets are needed. However, things are moving and Uber “has something tangible on technology to show, if not right now on the bottom line. Cars described as ‘self-driving’ were being given to some of its drivers in Pittsburgh last month. Around 100 modified Volvo XC90s have been kitted out with the equipment. Prudently, Uber seems to be taking no risks! Each car is being staffed by engineer who will take the wheel if necessary, and a co-pilot.”

5. Why KLM set the beacon ball rolling

Today Schipol airport in Amsterdam has over 2,000 beacons installed around the airport which it is using to deliver a better customer experience. KLM, the country’s national carrier, set the beacon ball rolling by being the first to introduce the technology in its terminals and lounges, writes Benét J. Wilson, who goes on to outline some of the use cases for the technology. Oh, and if you want to find out more about how airlines are using technology check out our free white paper: Airport 3.0: The Technology and Data Transforming Airports 

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