Google’s recent travel updates include consumer-friendly booking tools such as hotel smart filters and enhanced flight price tracking, but threaten to overshadow airlines’ and travel providers’ own mobile platforms unless they leverage more predictive analytics and real-time inventory changes.
Travel and hospitality
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Virgin America is maximizing ancillary revenue while providing positive brand experiences with live bidding for seat upgrades via the SeatBoost application.
Ecommerce platform Grab has joined forces with travel dining provider HMSHost to enable more airport travelers to order food and beverages via their smartphones from the latter’s restaurants, underscoring mobile’s growing integration within travel hubs.
Airbnb is targeting business travelers through a partnership with American Express that integrates the mobile booking service into the financial institution’s suite of products under its corporate travel management service.
DMI International has joined forces with a travel distribution technology company to implement natural language processing into a chatbot that leverages IBM Watson’s platform to respond to users’ hotel search requests.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is expanding its SPG Keyless room entry capability to enable multiple guests sharing the same hotel room to leverage their smartphones in lieu of physical key cards, showcasing how the technology is evolving to better meet the needs of mobile-savvy travelers.
Hotwire is onboarding several new features into its mobile application to better suit consumers’ needs after identifying some of their typical travel habits, enabling users to book hotel rooms after midnight, choose a bed type when making reservations and secure one-way car rentals.
Virgin is introducing its first loyalty application for all of its British subsidiaries, including Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Media, featuring a heavy gamification component and suggesting that more brands may begin to leverage all-in-one rewards programs on mobile.
Frontier Airlines is modernizing its in-flight services by equipping flight attendants with tablets and a mobile point-of-sale system that creates a faster and more convenient checkout process.
Local merchants are realizing a more powerful stance on mobile search with users increasingly able to directly order services within results, as evidenced by Pingup’s partnership with Yahoo as well as Yelp’s new tie-ups, including with Delivery.com.