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Posts from February 2018.

Our weekly OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending February 16, 2018 is below. Loyalty and direct booking make an appearance again in this week’s Update after an extended absence.

Better Late Than Never:  Wyndham Joins the Loyalty Discount Program Bandwagon [LOYALTY/DIRECT BOOKING]
("Wyndham begins offering loyalty discounts", TopHotel News, February 15, 2018)
Wyndham finally announced plans this past week to offer discounted rates to members of its loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards. According to Wyndham, the planned discount of 10% will be one of the largest among Wyndham’s competitors. According to Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham, the delay in rolling out the discount program was attributable to many factors, including challenges with Wyndham’s technology platform, website and OTA contracts. Time will tell whether the planned discounts ultimately drive the direct booking volume necessary to outweigh their costs.

This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update is below and features a variety of stories – EU regulation, AI-powered chatbots, direct booking, connectivity and taxes.

German Coalition Plans for Increased Scrutiny of Online Platforms [EU REGULATION]
("Online platforms under scrutiny as German coalition eyes antitrust overhaul," MLex, February 7, 2018) (subscription is required)
Although the recent announcement made no mention of the many global or European online travel platforms operating in Germany, it is hard to see how online travel platforms will escape the scrutiny of the planned “Antitrust 4.0”commission. What this new commission means practically is hard to predict as Germany is already one of the few EU member states to find certain distributor’s rate parity provisions outright unlawful.

The Oregon Sports Summit, hosted by Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, was held on February 2-3, 2018 at the Valley River Inn in Eugene, OR. The dynamic two-day conference included a mix of keynotes, programs and networking for potential and current sports events planners to create and further develop their events.

On Friday, February 2, I presented "Slips, Trips and Falls: Managing the Inevitable Risks of Any Sports Event", which covered topics including, (1) the key provisions of venue contracts, (2) participant waivers and releases, (3) service provider considerations, (4) sponsorship agreements and associated intellectual property issues and (5) privacy. My presentation is available for download below.

A big thank you for inviting me to attend and present!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at or at 206.816.1470.

This week’s rather short OTA & Travel Distribution Update is below. 

Google Leverages Travel Data to Predict Airline Delays [SEARCH]
("Google Already Knows Your Flight Is Delayed,"  Fast Co Design - Headlines, February 1, 2018)
Multiple news outlets featured Google’s announcement this past week that through its combination of AI, Google’s growing body of travel-related data and the data available through other third-party travel aggregators, Google Flights was poised to begin providing travelers flight delay information before the airlines themselves. While we don’t routinely cover stories affecting primarily the airline industry, this widely promoted airline “audit” feature may signal a new willingness by Google to better leverage its unprecedented travel-related databases to provide products and features better than the suppliers themselves.

This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update is below and features a number of stories on Airbnb and its many recent announcements. There seems to be no end to the news coming out of Airbnb these days as it prepares for an apparent public offering.

Airbnb Announces First Outside Board Member [SHORT-TERM RENTALS]
("Airbnb brings on American Express CEO to board of directors," TechCrunch News, January 25, 2018)
Airbnb announced this past week the appointment of outgoing American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, to Airbnb’s board of directors. Chenault’s appointment is his second in as many weeks (the first was with another small ecommerce company called Facebook). Chenault’s appointment is viewed by many as yet another step by Airbnb toward its highly anticipated public offering. In his statement announcing Chenault’s appointment, Airbnb co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, also announced that Airbnb would be introducing in late February substantial improvements to its platform that would set Airbnb up for an “infinite horizon.”

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About the Editor

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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