Digital. Season 2, Episode 3. The Top 10 Travel News Stories of the Week: Day In, Day Out
Do you remember Black Mirror’s Nosedive episode? We’re a step closer to it. After a £2.5M listing has been rented to organize a rave party, Airbnb has developed software that can analyze guests’ online personas to calculate the chances of them trashing apartments. The software scans for traits such as “neuroticism,” involvement in crimes,” “narcissism,” “psychopathy,” and -poetically enough, “Machiavellianism…”
MakeMyTrip, added destination videos (covering 130 destinations) to its mobile app to inspire travelers. The new service is called Trip Ideas and, according to the Indian OTA, 10% of its users are already accessing video contents. Currently, Trip.com owns a 49% share in MakeMyTrip.
Great (or terrible, depending on who’s reading) news for Facebook: WhatsApp is about to launch its advertising platform. The ads (images, videos, texts, or animated GIFs) will be shown on the Status section of WhatsApp, and it will be similar to how the paid content is currently displayed on IG and FB Stories. The Ad will disappear after a 24-hour period. The ad feature will be launched somewhere in 2020.
AI-fueled RMS, Beonprice, received €2.5M in funding, bringing the company’s total funding to €5M. Check out my interview with Cristina Hernández Santonja, Business Development & Strategic at BeonPrice, here.
Remember Joe Dante’s classic, Innerspace? Now it’s a reality! Xenobots are “entirely new life-forms,” created from frogs’ stem cells. They’re so small that they can be injected in the human body. Researcher Joshua Bongard stated that xenobots are “neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.” Xenobots can be used to clean up radioactive waste, get plastic out of the oceans, and — of course- transport medication inside human bodies. Xenobots can live over a week without external nutrients, but their lifespan can increase to several weeks in the right environment.
Hyatt Hotels partnered with meditation app Headspace, offering mindfulness exercises to both guests, employees, and corporate customers. Hyatt staff will be offered a complimentary subscription to Headspace, and guests will receive access via in-room content.
The metasearch industry is not in great shape: after SkyScanner tried to remove “the pain of meta,” and Trivago showed disappointing Q3, now Hipmunk gets shut down. Who’ll be next?
According to a LinkedIn survey, “blockchain will be the most in-demand hard skill in 2020.” Blockchain overtook skills such as cloud computing, AI, and UX design, and, interestingly enough, the 2019 LinkedIn list did not include blockchain at all…
Yahoo Finance published an interesting piece on how Google is hurting OTAs, metasearch engines, and hotel review sites. Here are a few takeaways: “Google Travel (…) was launched last year. It remains a breakthrough move for the company in this market. (…) Google Travel allows the company to deliver personalized travel experience to users, (…) the search giant is banking on integration of AI into its travel tools. (…) All the above mentioned strong endeavors by Google are likely to hurt the sentiments of the online travel agencies (OTA) further.” You can read the full article here.
Born as a personal project, Bespoke became a product that is now used by millions of travelers. Today, Bespoke’s chatbot assistant, Bebot, allows foreign tourists to discover hidden gems in the area quickly and encourages in-market spent by visitors. The chatbot also helps cities and transport authorities to promote sustainable tourism by making recommendations that spread the visitor-flow across multiple sites and attractions. Today, during the live broadcast of Digital. I will have the privilege to be joined by its Founder and CEO, Akemi Tsunagawa. Make sure to tune in on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, or directly on the website at 3:00 PM CET.