The most popular articles on PhocusWire in 2019

The editorial team at PhocusWire is proud to present the top 10 stories that captured the most attention with readers over the last 12 months.

PhocusWire has selected its Newsmakers Of 2019 - but now it's time to see what the data shows were the most popular stories in the year.

In the 2018 list, Airbnb took three of the top 10 positions as it embarked on a series of major strategic initiatives.

The year also featured a number of high-profile news stories, including the massive data breach scandal at Marriott-Starwood.

But what stories have made it to this year's list?

Scroll through the pages below to find out. We begin at number 10...

Number 10

Google shuts Trips app, everything migrates to broader Google Travel platform

Google closed its Google Trips app in August this year.

The search giant quietly updated the app's help page to reveal support for the product will cease after almost three years in the market.

The app was available for both iOS and Android smartphone users and was seen as another step in its ambitions to organize itineraries and keep travelers within the Google ecosystem when on the road.

It pulled content together from both the web and users into a single service, giving them destination information and listings for their upcoming trips and reservations by adding flight and hotel reservation details from Gmail and Google Calendar.

But it's no more...


Number 9

11 uncomfortable truths about hotel revenue management

Hotel revenue management (RM) is not new and has been around for 30+ years, yet only 3% of hotels globally use revenue management technology today.

While the adoption of RM tech is not the only measure of the pervasiveness, it is a good reminder of how far we need to go as an industry.

The main goal of sharing these uncomfortable truths is to elevate the dialog around the importance of RM and why, as an industry, we must strive to do better in driving revenue performance using data-driven insights.

These truths have been compiled because of learning and working being done by many smart collaborators and thinkers in our industry.

As a community of RM practitioners, I believe, we need to share more and share often (Heads up: that’s #10 in this piece) and hence this list from Vivek Bhogaraju at the Expedia Group.


Number 8

OYO Rooms acquires European rental brand @Leisure Group for €360M

Big news in the vacation rental sector when OYO Rooms flexed its acquisition muscles and bought @Leisure Group in a €360 million deal.

The acquisition marked the first big international investment by India-based OYO and put it feet first in the Europe marketplace for private accommodation.

@Leisure Group has more than 40,000 fully managed rental properties across Europe, operating nine brands including Belvilla, DanCenter and Danland.

A subscription-based home management service under the Traum-Ferienwohnungen brand has 85,000 homes in 50 countries and is also part of the deal.

The deal was in two parts, with German media and internet giant Axel Springer selling its 51% stake in the business for €180 million and the rest going to other shareholders. Axel Springer invested in @Leisure five years ago.


Number 7

Welcome to the Hot 25 Startups for 2020

We’re excited to highlight the companies that have shown potential to have breakthrough success in 2020.

The companies included on this list aren’t of a particular size, growth phase or amount of funding - though those all can indicate a startup poised for success.

Like last year, we assessed using criteria relating to their potential to make a difference to their sector or market in the next 12 months, from significant PR traction to recent user growth to promising pivots.

We guess you could say we’re optimistic about the future of the travel industry.

Here are some of the startups that have helped us confirm that belief this year.


Number 6 CEO Gillian Tans moves aside, Glenn Fogel steps in

Booking Holdings named Glenn Fogel as CEO of, with the incumbent, Gillian Tans, becoming chairwoman of the group's division.

The sudden change at the top of, announced in June, was effective immediately.

Fogel says his focus as CEO – a position he holds alongside his duties as president and CEO of parent company Booking Holdings - is to “identify ways to drive more collaboration and integration to strengthen the company's positioning for long-term success.

The shift to chairwoman for Tans ended a three-year stint as CEO at after she took over the reigns from Darren Huston.


Number 5

Can OYO capture the unbranded hotel market in the U.S. and Europe?

Hospitality company OYO Hotels & Homes continued its quest to become the largest hotel chain in the world with the rollout of its first OYO Townhouses in the U.S. in February.

OYO Townhouse is the India-based company’s brand that is targeted to millennial travelers.

The OYO model is based on transforming unbranded hotels through property renovations, a proprietary technology stack that manages revenue, pricing, inventory, food and beverage and front desk operations and a guarantee of services such as air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and clean bathrooms and linens.

On its website, OYO invites hotelier to join its network, stating it delivers a 100% increase in revenue within six months for its partners and 70% occupancy every day.


Number 4

Marriott and Expedia's battle over commissions could trigger industry-wide overhaul

The hotel distribution space was said to be in for a massive shake-up as talks over fees between Expedia and Marriott entered their final stages.

The pair were negotiating a new commission rate, which could ripple through the entire industry as other large hotel chains looked to flex their muscles.

Hotel industry analysts said it was a good time for Marriott, and possibly others, to be negotiating, given the strong business environment of recent years.

Phocuswright analyst and hospitality specialist Robert Cole says the hotel industry in the United States has seen nine consecutive years of increases in revenue per available room, which is driving Marriott to “lock in lower OTA compensation terms” before any downturn in economic fortunes.


Number 3

Google enables flight destination search by price

Google made updates to its travel tools, just in time for the busy spring travel season.

Now in Google Flights users can set a maximum price to see all destinations with flights within that budget.

The price tool works with both specific and flexible dates.

Once the user narrows down a destination, Google will show insights indicating whether flight prices are high, typical or low compared to what is usually available and also whether the price is expected to increase or decrease in the future.


Number 2

Online travel agency giants spent $10.6B on marketing in 2018 (but look closer)

Expedia Group and Booking Holdings splashed out a record amount on customer acquisition during 2018.

The pair spent $10.6 billion on what they loosely term "performance advertising and brand advertising" in the case of Booking Holdings and "selling and marketing" at Expedia Group.

Expedia Group, the umbrella over Brand Expedia, and others, accounted for the highest amount at $5.68 billion.

Booking Holdings, owner of, OpenTable and Kayak, came in at $4.96 billion.

This marked an increase of 8% by the two organizations on their marketing activity in 2017, when they collectively spent some $9.8 billion.


Number 1

Airline distribution in 2030 - parts 1 and 2

The most popular story of 2019 was a two-part opinion piece from tech executive, investor and board adviser Mario Gavira, who wrote:

"Predictions rarely turn out the way we imagined them - even more so today with the breakneck speed technology is transforming almost all industries, plus the giant digital wave spreading into our personal and work lives.

"So, meet airline distribution: shifting user behaviors (mobile, voice); the rapid expansion of digital giants (Google, Amazon?); new technology standards disrupting the existing ecosystem; a rapid consolidation of intermediaries; and strong determination by airlines to directly connect with the end consumer.

"These elements are sending shockwaves across the distribution landscape.

"Add to this the rapid adoption during the next decade of transformative technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, augmented reality and blockchain, etc., and you get the picture: the airline industry is at a digital tipping point where seismic forces will shake up the existing ecosystem."

Editor's note: This story was in two parts, both of which had significant traffic and each would've made into our top 10 list. Combined, they make up the number one position.

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