TikTok and Travel

Skift Take

Today’s podcast looks at the power of Tiktok travel, United’s pilot pause, and the Digital Markets Act’s effects on Google.

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Episode Notes

Millions of travelers look to TikTok for help in planning their next trip. So we discussed the company’s influence in the travel industry, among other topics, with Stuart Flint, head of TikTok’s global business solutions for Europe and Israel.

Flint told Global Tourism Reporter Dawit Habtemariam that several major travel brands are working with TikTok, including Booking.com. Although TikTok doesn’t currently allow travelers to book directly on the platform, Flint acknowledged that could change as commerce is a huge part of its growth. He also addressed TikTok’s role in the growing trend of “travel dupes,” which are possibly cheaper and less crowded alternatives to popular destinations. 

Next, United Airlines is putting a pause on pilot hiring in the spring due to aircraft delivery delays from Boeing, writes Airlines Reporter Meghna Maharishi. 

New-hire classes won’t take place in May and June while some may resume in July, according to a staff memo. The memo cited new aircraft certification and manufacturing delays at Boeing as the reason why the carrier is slowing the pace of pilot hires. United CEO Scott Kirby had expressed his frustrations with Max 10 delivery delays earlier this year. 

United, one of Boeing’s biggest customers, had expected to receive an order of 80 Max 10s in 2024. Maharishi notes United isn’t expecting that order to be fulfilled this year due to the certification delays. 

Finally, The European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which is designed to ensure fair competition for online platforms, went to effect on Thursday. However, the EU Travel Tech association argues that Google isn’t complying with the new law, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. 

The group said in a letter to the European Commission that Google’s own products for hotels, flights and travel services appeared more prominently than those for its competitors. EU Travel Tech added that Google’s efforts to change how it displays search results haven’t satisfied the new law’s requirements. The association has also demanded Google propose new ways to show search results. 

A Google spokesperson said, in addition to changing search result displays, it’s been seeking feedback from consumers as well as hotels and airlines. 

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