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Posts from May 2017.

Our weekly OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending May 21, 2017 is below.  Nothing earth shattering this week...

  • Accor Launches Dynamic Packaging [DIRECT BOOKING].  Joining the ranks of Marriott and other large hotel brands, Accor rolled out last week its previously announced dynamic packaging that allows users of Accor’s website the opportunity to book both hotels and flights.  Through its partnership with MisterFly, Accor is now able to offer packages consisting of rooms at over 200 Accor properties and flights with a variety of network and low-cost carriers.  Dynamic packaging is just one more example of Accor’s ongoing efforts to provide its customers one-stop shopping for their entire travel experience.   Unique to Accor’s package offering, Accor loyalty program members can earn loyalty program points based on the value of the entire package – both hotel and air. 

AccorHotels’ New Flight and Hotel Packages Target Loyalty Members First
Skift Travel News, May 15, 2017
In its attempt to own more of the traveler experience from start to finish, AccorHotels is leveraging the power of its loyalty program — something its peers, no doubt, will also want to do going forward. -Deanna Ting 

This week’s GSB weekly client OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending May 12, 2017 is below. 

  • Rhetoric Over AHLA’s Planned Lobbying Efforts Ramps Up [OTA].  Not surprisingly, Priceline Group CEO Glenn Fogel has a slightly different perspective on the OTA’s influence and control over the online travel agency industry.  Responding to recent reports (see last week’s Update) outlining AHLA’s plans to lobby Trump administration officials over Expedia’s and Priceline Group’s dominance of the online travel agency industry, Glenn objected to AHLA’s characterization of Expedia’s and Priceline Group’s control as a monopolistic.   According to Glenn, such statements, when considering Priceline Group’s share of the global travel industry (as opposed to AHLA’s use of the U.S. online travel industry – a much smaller denominator) constitute “misstatements” and untrue “allegations.”  I suspect Glenn’s comments are not the last that we will see coming out of the OTAs regarding AHLA’s planned campaign. 

Priceline Group CEO Faults Hotel Association for False Allegations
Skift Travel News, May 11, 2017 

There is ample competition among hotels, online travel agencies, and airlines in the U.S. travel marketplace as all of these sectors have seen a spate of consolidation. It may make sense business-wise for these companies, but none of it is particularly good for consumers or competition.


Our OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending Friday, May 5, 2017 is below. 

  • Industry To Again Focus Attention on Distribution Duopoly [OTA].  In an article last week, Bloomberg shared details from an AHLA board meeting where the Association discussed proposed plans for a wide scale lobbying effort of the FTC and incoming Trump Administration officials regarding the practices of on-line behemoths Expedia and Priceline.  A consumer marketing campaign based on the popular Monopoly board game was also discussed.  The AHLA’s proposed plans also call for the Association and its members to better promote themselves as innovative and technologically savvy – words one often doesn’t use when describing the lodging industry.  It will be interesting to watch whether these previously voiced concerns (remember the industry’s response to Expedia’s Orbitz acquisition, anyone?) have a larger effect on Trump administration versus the prior administration. 

Hotels Plan Lobbying Push Over Priceline-Expedia ‘Monopoly’
Bloomberg Markets, May 5, 2017
The U.S. hotel industry plans to step up a lobbying and public relations attack on Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc., hoping to convince consumers and members of the Trump administration that the travel-booking giants are monopolistic. The American Hotel & Lodging Association, an industry group whose membership includes Marriott International Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corp. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., devised plans for a campaign saying the online travel companies use unfair practices in their search businesses, according to board meeting documents seen by Bloomberg. The trade group intends to lobby Federal Trade Commission officials on the issue and try to ensure that new members picked by President Donald Trump are friendly to hotels, according to the documents prepared for a January meeting of the group’s board.

This week’s OTA & Distribution Update for the week ending April 28, 2017 is below.  Loyalty program updates feature prominently in this week’s Update as well as story on some important changes at Airbnb to lure corporate travelers. Enjoy.

  • TripAdvisor Continues to Evolve [METASEARCH / OTA].  Several important updates from TripAdvisor this week . . .   First, TripAdvisor announced that Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) (one of the last major brands to feature its properties on TripAdvisor’s Instant Book) finally joined the booking platform.  Second, TripAdvisor may be returning to its metasearch roots – at least for some users.  According to TripAdvisor, TripAdvisor may no longer give preference to its own Instant Book listings over metasearch links to its partners’ sites.  Priority is now given based on a number of factors including rate, a user’s booking history and other user attributes.  Maybe it is again time to ask whether TripAdvisor a metasearch site or a booking engine – the answer may now depend on who’s asking.

TripAdvisor Instant Booking Gets Very Personal
Skift Travel News, April 27, 2017
TripAdvisor is getting more sophisticated about prodding customers to book hotels on TripAdvisor or to more effectively refer them to partner sites. In an apparently modified strategy, TripAdvisor is finding religion in being agnostic about where its users book hotels.

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Greg Duff
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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