Here are some of the stories that have caught Tnooz's eye this morning, August 6.
Expedia's CFO, Mark Okerstrom, tells the WSJ that its air-travel businesses have migrated successfully onto a new digital platform that aims to unify the technology that supports its brands. Vacation packages will follow soon.
Key perks of EXPE's new platform: Expedia now releases system updates every couple of weeks, instead of only three or four times a year. Expedia will present hoteliers with more customization options yet somehow also provide a simpler interface. Okerstrom added:
"The new tech platform...enables us to make changes pretty quickly and tailor our websites to what is resonating with consumers, and that leads to better website conversion."
Spain's Euro exit become more believable. The owner of British Airways and Iberia, International Airlines Group (IAG), has drafted a plan on how to cope if Spain leaves the euro, says Reuters. It's the first major travel company in Europe to set aside work hours to plan for the previously unspeakable idea.
Priceline will likely report on Tuesday that Q2 profit rose 34%, the weakest in 12 quarters, partly because of Europe's and Asia's slowdown. After hitting all-time highs in the spring, the stock has meandered, just the same as Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Travelzoo according to this Zacks comparison. Analysts at SeekingAlpha expect PCLN to deliver a happy surprise.
Booking.com now has over 210,000 hotels, a jump of 55% in one year.
NASA's Curiosity rover touched down on Mars. If there were an Olympics for meeting programming goals, the US space agency would get a gold medal in the Agile sprints.
Travelport, the US-based GDS, reveals that it has at least tripled its inventory of hotels thanks to signing two new aggregators on in its Travelport Rooms and More hotel booking engine since launching the tool July 2011. More than 700,000 commissionable supplier offers are presented on on more than 340,000 unique hotel properties.
The backstory: Before this news, Travelport used to offer around 90,000 hotels through its core GDS channel. Booking the hotel chain content through the GDS is a preferred option for corporate travel agents, but leisure travel agents were often spending quite a bit of time booking hotels by visiting lots of hotel aggregator websites, often searching for independent or boutique properties. In Rooms and More, collecting commissions on hotel bookings is automatic and paid to customers in monthly payments.
Amadeus, the Madrid-based GDS, expects to expand in Malaysia, following the end of the share swap deal between the country's two airlines, upscale Malaysia and low-cost AirAsia.
EmQuest, the travel distribution arm of Emirates Airlines that is a distributor of products from Dallas-based GDS Sabre, has signed 28 key agencies in the last two months and over 75 total thus far in 2012 for travel agents in the UAE, Africa and the Indian Ocean.
Southwest Airlines, the US low-cost carrier, had an IT fiasco on Friday when its reservation system caused duplicate billings to customers' debit and credit cards, a spokeswoman told the press over the weekend.
A website slowdown was the tip-off. in some cases 35 or more times for a single flight, says USA Today. It will take the company 8 to 10 days before resolving disputes on customer billing statements. Hundreds of Southwest customers wound up posting stories on Facebook complaining about the airline.
Says Southwest spokesperson Ashley Dillon, in an e-mail:
"The overwhelming response from customers who took advantage of our Aug. 3 limited time offer launched to celebrate three million fans on Facebook, created website performance issues at various times during the day."
Does it make sense that a surge in website usage would prompt a glitch to result in multiple bookings for a few hundred users? Hmm... Speak up in the comments.
Tourism Australia gets on the Facebook Map, so to speak, thanks to a "world first app" that lets users get travel recommendations from their friends and have it plotted on a map of the country. The free app can be see on Tourism Australia's Facebook page.
In India, bus-ticketing site redBus appoints former GE Capital executive Bharat Singh as CFO. Company expansion to Singapore and Malaysia is predicted.
US restaurant booking websites Open Table has had a stellar couple of stock market days, thanks to its Q2 earnings report. This proves the age-old rule that there is no growth stock like the stock of a company that makes a product heavily used by New York City investors.
Simile Widgets, a publishing framework for data-rich interactive webpages, scores its first travel coup. Canada's city of Courtenay has used the service to create a Google Map of parks called, appropriately enough, the Courtenay Interactive Parks and Recreation Map. Simile Exhibit makes it easy for startups and tourism marketing organizations to add advanced text search and filtering functionalities to interactive maps, timelines, and other visualizations. What this means is users can find a particular park within the city with brief custom content on a Google Map, all for free.
United Continental reaches an agreement in principle with its pilots' union. Strike averted.