Issue 9: 3rd March 2014

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    Facebook buys WhatsApp

    Facebook has acquired free messaging service WhatsApp for USD19bn, fueling fears of a new bubble in the tech sector. WhatsApp went on to announce that it would add free voice-call services for its 450 million customers later this year, further threatening the established telecoms sector. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the price paid for WhatsApp, [...]
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    Priceline rises on Europe recovery

    Priceline.com saw the economic recovery in Europe drive profits up, as hotel bookings continued to grow and grow. Incoming president & CEO Darren Huston said that, under his leadership, he would grow the group organically, rather than through acquisitions. At the company’s Booking.com brand, the group continued to build supply, with over 425,000 hotels and [...]
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    Choice launches verified reviews

    Choice Hotels International has announced that it will be adding verified reviews to its brand.com website. The company said it would add a “layer of authenticity” and is having the reviews and responses to those reviews moderated by Bazaarvoice, rather than TripAdvisor. Robert McDowell, senior vice president, global distribution and loyalty, said: “Research indicates that [...]
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    US anti-trust case dismissed

    A judge in the US has ruled that an antitrust case bought against a group of hotel operators and online travel agencies be dismissed. The judge said that there was insufficient evidence of a conspiracy, with the relationships between the hotels and OTAs explained by “rational business interests”. “The well-pled facts do not plausibly suggest [...]
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    March to mobile

    Priceline and Groupon both took the opportunity of their fourth-quarter results to highlight the importance of their mobile strategies. These join similar comments from Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International last week, as the hotel sector focuses its future on mobile. At Priceline, newly-installed president & CEO Darren Huston told analysts: “Mobile execution and [...]