United Suspends Its Pet Cargo Service While Investigations Proceed

Ace Pet Moving/United Airlines

United Airlines is suspending its pet-shipping program just after it mistakenly sent one dog to Japan instead of Kanas. Ace Pet Moving/United Airlines

Skift Take: United charges a lot of money to ship dogs, and promises on its website “industry-leading comfort and safety features.” United hasn’t always delivered, so it’s probably time to press pause and figure out if there are endemic problems with the program.

— Brian Sumers

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Ryan Wolkov

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Orbitz Discloses Potential Data Breach of Customer Credit Cards

Associated Press

The sign at an Orbitz office. Orbitz revealed it had been hacked in late 2017. Associated Press

Skift Take: Orbitz isn’t the first booking site to get hacked, and certainly won’t be the last. The scope of this breach was global, and it’s concerning that the hack captured information on nearly a million payment cards.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Ryan Wolkov

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Interview: Stay Alfred CEO On Building The Future Of Vacation Rental Tech

Stay Alfred

A Stay Alfred Rental in Seattle, Washington. The company seeks to offer a consistent room experience across its rentals nationwide. Stay Alfred

Skift Take: There’s a new generation of property managers trying to bring hotel-like professionalism and scale to the vacation rental market. Their tech chops will play a large role in determining if they succeed or fail.

— Seth Borko

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Ryan Wolkov

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Why Slow Barge Cruising Is a Fast-Growing Luxury Option

Belmond

A Belmond barge. France is the epicenter of barging vacations. Belmond

Skift Take: Barging is a very small segment of the cruise industry, but it’s growing exponentially. That said, given that a typical barge only holds four to 12 passengers, and there are only about 100 barges in operation, exponential growth can take place with the addition of just a few new boats.

— Laura Powell

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Ryanair Is Buying a Majority Stake in an Austrian Airline

Bloomberg

A Niki aircraft. Former Formula One motor-racing champion Niki Lauda is selling a majority stake in the carrier to Ryanair. Bloomberg

Skift Take: Not many people would have had Ryanair pegged as the potential partner for Niki Lauda’s new Austrian airline. The Irish carrier has seldom chosen the M&A path in the past but an opportunity to take on Lufthansa in central Europe was probably too good an opportunity to turn down.

— Patrick Whyte

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Alipay Steps Up Push to Cater to Chinese Travelers in the U.S.

Crystal Jade

Crystal Jade, a restaurant in San Francisco, lets patrons pay for their meals with Alipay and WeixinPay, which are two types of payments systems that are popular with Chinese travelers. On Monday, many North American merchants and travel companies became capable of accepting Alipay, thanks to a new deal. Crystal Jade

Skift Take: The phrase “cash is king” is fast becoming outdated as Chinese travelers popularize mobile payment methods like Alipay and Weixin Pay.

— Sean O’Neill

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Luxury Hospitality Brands Play Catch-Up on Social Media

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla. The company was one of only two hospitality brands to make it into the top 50 of the study. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Skift Take: Social platforms are constantly evolving, mandating that luxury brands perpetually refine their approach and balance their agenda of pushing a lifestyle brand while providing real-time customer communications.

— Samantha Shankman

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Skift Forum Europe Preview: What Travelers Want From Activities

GetYourGuide

Tao Tao, co-founder and chief operating officer of GetYourGuide, will speak about the future of the tours and activities space at Skift Forum Europe in Berlin on April 26, 2018. GetYourGuide

Skift Take: Do locals spend more money on at-home activities than travelers spend on in-trip activities? The answer isn’t as pressing as the fact that most of the world’s activities are still up for grabs by booking platforms.

— Sarah Enelow

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