If you missed the stories of the second quarter of this year, here is a round up of those that readers were most engaged with

1. Women on top: in conversation with the CEO of Booking.com

Put the CEO of the biggest online travel brand in the world, who happens to be a woman, and a hot topic – gender equality – in one article, and you have a recipe for, well, a story that comes top of the pops! Here Gillian Tans, CEO Booking.com, explains how the firm is encouraging diversity, technological innovation and gender equality.

2. Marriott, Hilton, IHG: are cuts to group commissions fair play or shortsighted?

The move by three of the big chains to cut group commissions in the US from 10% to 7% - a whopping 30% - is a controversial one. And not everybody agrees. Tim Hentschel, CEO of Hotel Planner, a provider of online services to the global group hotels sales market, is one of those and in this exclusive interview he shares his views on the matter. Watch out for more on this in the coming weeks.

3. ‘Wellness tourism’ is fastest growing travel sector, says Lonely Planet

Travel companies are always looking for new avenues for growth, and wellness seems to be where it is at, according to household name Lonely Planet. This is apparently the industry’s fastest growing sector with a 10% rise this year making it a plus $500bn market. Within that, there is the fast-growing specialist medical segment, as travellers attempt to cut bills or waiting times. Admittedly, forecasts vary, but suggestions are that this is rising at around 20% annually and is currently worth $45 -$72bn.

4. Priceline vs Booking - what’s in a name?

The name Priceline in online travel is a loaded one, but it is no longer. The group has decided to rebrand as Booking Holdings. Hardly surprising as this year Booking.com racked up 5 million listings on its site to take over a million bookings a day. The reason Priceline continued to thrive is thanks to its acquisition of the Dutch-born company, and this analysis explains why.

5. Costco lures middle-income travellers to make a play for OTA market share

Not exactly a new kid on the block but one that could pose a new threat to the OTAs, Costco, the US membership-only wholesale club group, has spotted an opportunity in online market. And, with around 90-million captive members on its books, well over 40% of the 25-and-older US population, (mostly in medium-to-upper income brackets), it seems something of a no-brainer!

6. Blockchain in travel: which journey are you on?

Blockchain fever continues, and the technology is undoubtedly here to stay. But where will it be best applied? The debate continues and we can expect more on this in the coming weeks and months.

7. Why Airbnb believes machine learning needs ‘thinking’

Tom Bacon reported back from the EyeforTravel Smart Analytics conference in Miami where he heard how new technologies like machine learning are considered to be the next generation in travel pricing. However, what he finds is that it doesn’t have to be the ‘black box’ that many analysts refer to.

8. Airlines vs GDS: is cooperation the way forward?

It’s Tom Bacon again, writing about what he knows best and here he takes a look at which airlines are implementing GDS fees, how this works and why it matters. But he also raises some important points. While the“high cost of certain third-party distribution channels remains a concern for many airlines. All airlines continue to seek increased efficiencies in distributing their services. However, both the revenue opportunity and greater customer engagement associated with increased personalisation may offer an even greater profit opportunity for airlines than focusing on GDS fees.”

9. Quantum computing: turning perceptions upside down

This is part 4 in a series of complex but fascinating articles by Joerg Esser, a theoretical physicist, former senior executive at Thomas Cook and now consultant to Roland Berger. Esser writes: “There are signs that it could be a few years rather than a decade or more for machine quantum learning to become mainstream.” Let’s just say, watch this space!

10. Partnerships, the bedrock of the travel ecosystem

The headline of this story says it all. Most, if not all, companies in the world of travel are built on partnerships, and this piece considers how these are changing.

If you missed one of our recent events, why not join us later in the year to hear more about what is shifting and shaping the online travel environment

EyeforTravel North America 2018

October 2018, Las Vegas

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