Hotels may soon be seeing more technology startups they can take advantage of to drive more direct business.

At the inaugural Skift Forum Europe this week, there was a lot of talk from leading venture capitalists on the benefits of using Europe as a ‘testbed’ for creating the next wave of travel companies. Check out the full story below to see why exactly Europe is ideal for hotel technology startups and other travel tech companies.

In other European news, Expedia is planning to increase their spend. It’s not certain why this might be, but it may be partially down to recent legal struggles Booking.com has been facing in Turkey and elsewhere. Expedia may be seeing the chance to close the gap between their European business and their higher growth rates elsewhere.

There have also been a few great articles about OTA relations this week, albeit from very different perspectives. Check out ’20 Reasons to Leave Booking Genius’ for a skeptical perspective on the popular programme that we’d 100% agree with – and then take a look at ‘Why OTA Commissions are Actually a Steal of a Deal’ for quite a different take. Don’t skip the comments on that one!

Europe Is an Excellent Testbed for the Future of Travel, Say Investors and Entrepreneurs

Defying conventional wisdom in the U.S., leading venture capitalist and the founders of two venture-backed companies — Trainline and GetYourGuide — believe that Europe is an excellent testbed for creating travel companies that can scale globally.

While Silicon Valley talks up its own brand, Europe has several characteristics that do a better job of forcing companies to hone their products, platforms, and business models. By facing the tough crucible of the demanding European travel market, entrepreneurs must build companies that can be scaled up globally with speed.

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Expedia Plans to Increase Marketing Spend in Europe

Expedia has not been aggressive in its marketing spend in Europe lately. But its global head of retail, Gary Morrison, says that strategy is about to change.

The flagship brand of Expedia has recently not seen as rapid growth in the UK and Europe as some of its largest rivals, such as Booking.com, have. But the company plans to be more assertive and innovative in its marketing spend to close the gap in nights booked on Expedia.co.uk and its sister brands.

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20 Reasons to Leave Booking Genius

The Genius rewards programme is a brilliant move by Booking.com in its strategy to continue gaining market share in hotels by gobbling up other online channels as well as the hotel’s own direct channel, their website.

Joining Genius is logical, understandable and I would even go as far as saying that it’s the right decision in certain scenarios. However, in most cases, it doesn’t adjust to reality, it’s basis is wrong and, above all, it’s a strategically dangerous decision.

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Why OTA Commissions are Actually a Steal of a Deal

With large threats like Airbnb looming on the horizon, and a new potentially potent enemy to battle, Peter O’Connell believes that the sector’s prior gripes about unfair OTA competition look likely to pale into insignificance.

In fact, facing a common enemy, OTAs and hotel brands are increasingly working together to unlock new potential and keep the hotel industry competitive against alternative accommodations.

This is a contentious article, but it’s worth a read – don’t skip the comments on this one!

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