Morning Scan: Amex’s Orbitz-run booking engine launches, United pivots its blog, and more
Here’s our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion on 21 August.
American Express unveils its Orbitz-powered booking engine.
The engine is a replacement for a Travelocity-powered white label site. In 2005, Travelocity was a launch partner with Amex, but the OTA recently lost Amex’s bid for business and its huge revenue stream. Travelocity remains exclusive booking provider for all air, car, hotel, and cruise packaging options in its Yahoo! booking engine partnership.
Orbitz provides white-label booking engines for many airlines, such as Alaska, Air Canada, Air France, and Delta.
In a related perk, the hundreds agents belonging to the Amex Consumer Travel Network are becoming able to book Orbitz merchant hotels and earn 12% commissions.
United Airlines shifts the focus of its travel tech blog, United Hub
In March, United used the United Hub blog to explain to customers how to use its travel website, mobile apps, and kiosks after its March switch to a unified single passenger service system
content management system. But airline has been shifting its tech-themed blog to a broader customer service focus.
For example, this week Hub helped United market its new baggage fee calculator tool as a way to help customers estimate checked baggage service charges. On Saturday, United used a “Know what you owe” marketing message on its Facebook page to point readers to the Hub blog, which had an explanatory post and a link to the extra fee calculator.
This year’s entering university freshman class is different from you
The Class of 2016 has never known a time when suitcases didn’t come with wheels, when airline tickets were printed with carbon paper pages, and were born after Pulp Fiction came out, notes this year’s Beloit College Mindset List
Let’s Go goes mobile
Let’s Go has launched its first full line of mobile apps for the iPhone and Android, covering 25 cities with all the usual listings and tools.
Novo lands the Air Berlin contract to supply contactless mobile payment devices
By November, Novo, a subsidiary of Belgravium Technologies, will install on Air Berlin flights 500 “PayPDA” devices running the “SkyPOS” solution, which includes a contactless payment module — which could speed up in-flight transaction times — along with chip-and-PIN card support. The UK company has won a string of contracts lately.
Sean O’Neill is Editor-in-Chief of Tnooz.
Before joining us, Sean was the future of travel columnist at BBC Travel, senior editor of BudgetTravel.com, and an associate editor at Kiplinger’s. He now lives in New Jersey, after a four-year stint in London. Follow him on Twitter.