Travel Tech Essentialist #75: Hearts over Charts
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Hotels from St Barths to Capri have been seizing the opportunity to partner with Selfbook, the only hotel booking platform that supports one-click bookings and digital wallets such as Apple Pay. Selfbook provides guests with a modern and delightful e-commerce experience, whether they prioritize trip customization, seamless room and rate browsing, or secure digital wallet payments – the transaction method of choice for 61% of guests booking Selfbook-powered hotels.
1. Alaska Airlines launches a subscription program with help from Barcelona
Alaska Airlines (based in Seattle, by the way) is the 5th largest airline in the USA. Alaska launched a “Flight Pass” subscription program this week, ranging from $49 / month (6 flights per year, bookings at least 14 days before departure) to $749 / month (24 flights per year, same-day booking within two hours of departure). The technology and marketing infrastructure powering Alaska’s new subscription program comes from Caravelo, a Barcelona-based startup that offers subscription and revenue optimization solutions for the airline and travel industry. Caravelo co-founder Jose Luis Vilar sent me this brief note the day after the launch: “in two days we have hit the targets for the first month”.
2. A new disruptive carbon-based technology: Face2Face
Good point by Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator):
3. Salesforce gets a fancy mega resort so that employees can meet face to face
Paul Graham’s tweet is a good segue into Salesforce. In February 2021, Salesforce announced that employees can work from home forever. On February 2022, Salesforce closed a multiyear agreement for a 140-room, 75-acre work-and-wellness center set among the redwoods 100 km from San Francisco, so that employees could meet face to face. Salesforce seems to have reached the conclusion that getting employees meet other employees in person is good for for company culture and employee morale and productivity: “We’ve hired thousands of employees who have never met in person. Trailblazer Ranch will give us and our stakeholders a way to forge deeper relationships and experience our culture in a whole new way”, said Marc Benioff. If it’s good for employees, it should also be good for business to meet in person with partners, clients and providers. Business travel would subscribe to this Mark Twain quote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”.
4. Hearts over charts
Web3 product managers are responsible for the success of communities rather than increasing acquisition, engagement, or revenue. A product manager’s guide to web3 is an in-depth guide to product management in web3 written by Jason Shah, former product lead at Airbnb and Amazon and now now leads product at Alchemy (essentially AWS for web3). It explains these core concepts in detail:
The unique attributes of a web3 product manager
The advantages and disadvantages of PM’ing in web3
Ten truths of web3 product management
How to make the transition into web3
5. Marriott sees growth of direct channel bookings
In its Q4 2021 earnings report this week, Marriott International gave some information on how booking channels have evolved between 2019 and 2021:
Share of digital bookings went up by 500 basis points (5 percentage points)
Direct channel went from 73% of total bookings in 2019 to 76.3% in 2021.
OTA channel (mostly associated with leisure business) up from 12% to 14% of total bookings.
GDS channel (mostly associated to corporate travel) dropped by 6 percentage points.
Within the direct channel, there was a movement from voice to digital, driven in large part with a high adoption of the Bonvoy app.
Marriott International’s Q4 2021 income totaled $468 million compared to a net loss of $164 million in Q4 2020. Read more - Marriott Call Transcript.
6. Moyenne Island: The world's smallest national park
In 1962, a soon-to-be unemployed journalist called Brendon Grimshaw searched for a new direction in life, one that took him closer to nature. He dreamed about owning land in the Seychelles – ideally, an island. He found his way to Moyenne, a 0.099 sq km dot 4.5km off the north coast of the Seychelles' largest island, Mahé. Grimshaw fell in love immediately with its silence and its wild vegetation and a few weeks later signed an agreement to pay £8,000 for Moyenne. This is a fascinating story of his life at Moyenne and how he converted it into a paradisiacal eco-reserve standing as a reminder of what the Seychelles were like before tourism arrived. Read more.
7. Learning from death
CB Insights released its latest analysis of the top 12 reasons why startups fail (direct access to the PDF here). CBI also has a short description of 397 startup post-mortems. I extracted 17 travel and mobility startup post-mortems and put them in a separate document which you can find here.
8. My editorial guidelines
This is what I look for and what I avoid with Travel Tech Essentialist. It’s a work in progress, but if you have any feedback of what you like, what you don’t like, what you want to see more of or see less of, please let me know (by replying to this email).
Short-term luxury rental company Wander raised a Series A of $20 million, bringing the total raised to date to $30 million. Wander caters to digital nomads to stay connected to work while also being able to vacation in off-the-beaten track, luxury homes with a free use of a Tesla.
Heygo, a livestreaming platform for travel, raised $20 million in a Series A round. The London-based startup provides virtual tours of cities, attractions and other activities and experiences in more than 90 countries.
UFODRIVE raises $19 million in Series A funding, co-led by Hertz and Certares. Born from a vision to deliver a radically better car rental experience. UFODRIVE offers no keys, no paperwork, no queues, no fuel or emissions and hassle-free electric car renting and subscription-based services at prime city and airport locations across Europe.
TripActions reached an agreement to acquire leading German travel management company Comtravo in a deal it says will see 50% of its overall business originating in Europe. This purchase follows TripActions’ acquisition of the UK’s Reed & Mackay in May 2021 and the addition of $275 million in Series F funding in October. It takes its investment in Europe to more than $400 million, according to the company. Read more.
Lonely Planet acquired Elsewhere, a travel planning startup that launched during in 2020. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
SPAC firm Astrea cancelled the intended $688 million merger deal with HotelPlanner and online hotel booking platform Reservations.com. Read more.
Travel Tech Essentialist job board
There are currently 139 exciting jobs posted in the Travel Essentialist job board. Based on activity metrics I received this week, 7% of unique visitors to the job board end up applying to at least one job (all tracking is anonymous). This job board can be a great resource whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired. Posting a job costs $30 for 35 days, but if your startup cannot afford it, please let me know and I’ll send you a link for a free posting. Here are just a few of the amazing jobs seen on the board:
Selfbook: Senior Customer Success Manager (Remote)
Selfbook: Senior Software Engineer (Remote)
Bob W: Recruiter (London, Tallinn)
Booking.com: Manager, Strategy & Operations (London)
eDreams Odigeo: Market Researcher (Remote)
Browse more open roles (or add your own open roles) at Travel Tech Essentialist Job Board
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Have a great week,