Travel tech this week: Google and Airbnb’s new acquisitions and more

Google's head office in Silicon Valley
Google’s head office in Silicon Valley

This week, we saw travel tech giants acquire smaller companies to fuel their growth and industry leaders drive innovation.

Here are the tech stories that turned our heads this week.

Holiday Parks & Hotels expands online distribution

Holiday Parks & Hotels can now seamlessly manage availability and rates through Availpro & Fastbooking’s NewBook. The latter boasts that hoteliers can enjoy operational efficiency and control rate parity all through one system.

NewBook is an award-winning property management software designed especially for the tourism industry and has a proven track record in increasing bookings and productivity, transforming thousands of hotels, apartments and RV & holiday park clients’ businesses globally. It uses artificial intelligence to improve efficiency, enhance guest experiences and increase revenue in its clients’ businesses.

Four Seasons adds WhatsApp in chat service

four-seasons-app
Four Seasons app

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has expanded its multi-channel chat service with the recent addition of WhatsApp. An innovator in the luxury hospitality mobile space, Four Seasons launched its multi-channel messaging platform in 2017 without the use of chatbots. The service is 100% powered by humans and translates 100+ languages in real time, allowing for response times averaging 90 seconds or less.

Guests can use Four Seasons Chat for any inquiry or service, big or small, including requests for restaurant recommendations and reservations, ordering room service, making or altering golf and spa reservations, obtaining advice on the best nearby shopping, notifying the property of a late arrival or early checkout, ordering drinks poolside, and even ordering a private jet.

WTO pairs with Unidigital

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has provided its support at the inauguration of Unidigital in Argentina as the first specialised hub for tourism in the Americas. Unidigital is the result of the collaboration between the public and private sectors to promote innovation in tourism. It will offer services, products and training in digital transformation, in order to allow the most disruptive entrepreneurs in tourism in the Americas to develop their projects.

Google acquires Indian start-up

Google has acquired Sigmoid Labs, a Bangalore-based start-up behind Where is my Train, an app that helps users track their trains across India offline without the need for GPS or internet connectivity.

Details of the deal have not been disclosed. However, the tech giant reportedly paid around USD 30 to 40 million for the acquisition.

Airbnb acquires Luckey Homes

Airbnb has acquired a French concierge services/property management company Luckey Homes for an undisclosed sum.

In a press statement, Airbnb country manager for France, Emmanuel Marill, said, “We are delighted to welcome the Luckey team to the Airbnb family. Luckey Homes not only shares our very high standards for hospitality but also has developed an innovative and highly scalable approach that can help more people become hosts. We look forward to building new and better services that will make hosting on Airbnb even easier.”

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