What Europe’s New Data Protection Law Means for Meetings and Events

Open Knowledge  / Flickr

The 2014 Open Knowledge conference in Berlin. European data security laws will soon impact meeting planners around the world. Open Knowledge / Flickr

Skift Take: U.S. meeting planners expect the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation to have a major effect on how they manage data. While the giant meetings firms are prepared to comply with it, smaller companies and related meetings vendors may lag behind.

— Robin Amster

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Ryan Wolkov

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Nor1 Buys Stay Delightful as More Hotels Upsell Guests on Text Chat

Swissotel

Swissotel Hotels and Resorts has a model room at the entrance to its headquarters in Zurich in the manner of a traditional Swiss arvenstübli, or parlor. Hotel brands like this one increasingly try to use conversation-based commerce to engage with guests, and companies like Nor1 and Stay Delightful try to help them. Swissotel

Skift Take: It’s old news that many hotels are enabling guests to text requests with the front desk. But it’s still early days for them to piece together the tech systems in a way that will let them successfully upsell guests on additional services via chat.

— Sean O’Neill

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Ryan Wolkov

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Airlines Warned About Flights as Syrian Conflict Escalates

Bloomberg

A British Airways aircraft. An escalation of the Syrian conflict presents a challenge for airlines. Bloomberg

Skift Take: With tensions rising between the U.S. and Russia over Syria it makes sense to warn airlines about the risks. The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine shows the danger of flying over conflict zones.

— Patrick Whyte

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U.S. Removes Chad From Travel Ban List

Bloomberg

President Trump. The U.S. has taken Chad off its travel ban list. Bloomberg

Skift Take: It seems like Chad’s inclusion was down to a bureaucratic mix-up rather than anything more strategic. All eyes are now on the Supreme Court for the impending decision on the overall legality of President Trump’s travel bans.

— Patrick Whyte

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Marriott and Hilton’s Group Commission Cuts Put Pressure on Industry

Andrew Harnik  / Associated Press

The Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington, D.C. Marriott International’s commission cuts on group bookings are rippling across the travel industry. Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Skift Take: As hotel chains have shifted their business models over the last decade, keeping owners happy has become the priority. Slashing group booking commissions for intermediaries saves owners money, so it’s easy to see how the largest U.S. chains will follow the example of Marriott and Hilton in the near future.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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U.S. Tourism Office Has Put Out Inaccurate International Visitor Data For Years

Reuters  / Mike Blake

International arrivals data collection in the United States has been flawed for years. Pictured is a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer interviewing travelers entering the United States from Mexico at the border crossing in San Ysidro, California. Reuters / Mike Blake

Skift Take: International visitor data reporting began to run amok before President Donald Trump took office and destinations are left wondering what data they can trust. The Trump administration has worked to spread disinformation, but this is a new level of concern for the travel industry.

— Dan Peltier

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Fitness Clubs Are Becoming Hotels – and Vice Versa

Exhale Spa

Participants in an Exhale Spa fitness class. Hyatt is working out how to integrate the brand into its existing businesses. Exhale Spa

Skift Take: With people spending more money on well-being, it makes sense that fitness clubs around the country would spy an opportunity to expand their brands. However, it’s important to remember not every gym can have a 40-room boutique hotel above it.

— Patrick Whyte

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Google Wants to Enter Aviation’s Broadband Wi-Fi Business

Anick Jesdanun  / Associated Press

A Google engineer demonstrating Google Earth features. Google is looking to buy its way into the in-flight entertainment and wi-fi market for aviation. Anick Jesdanun / Associated Press

Skift Take: This would be a sneaky move by Google, but makes sense given the company’s recent focus on improved travel tools for consumers. The more closely the online giant’s products are integrated into the travel experience, the more traction it can gain in the travel space outside online booking. We’ve already seen them experiment, for instance, with Google Fi kiosks in U.S. airports.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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EasyJet and Air France-KLM Eye Takeover of Troubled Airline Alitalia

Darren Hillman  / Flickr

EasyJet Plc, Air France-KLM Group and Cerberus Capital Management LP have made a joint approach to the Italian airline Alitalia SpA about a possible takeover, according to Bloomberg News. Darren Hillman / Flickr

Skift Take: Will Alitalia finally get its white knight? The troubled airline is being supported by the Italian government, which is aggressively shopping it to suitors. EasyJet is leading a consortium looking at buying Alitalia and giving it an entree to the Mediterranean. Momentum and Italy’s growing impatience favors the EasyJet group so news could come shortly.

— Tom Lowry

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