It was a relatively quiet week for the distribution industry. Enjoy.
Family Travel Club Launched in the Midst of a Pandemic
(“Online Family Travel Club Launched by Wall Street Journal Alums Unbowed by Pandemic,”
Jul 20, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
This past week saw the launch of The Expedition, a subscription-based online travel platform focused on families. Founded by two former newspaper and magazine editors (Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure and TIME), the newly launched platform will feature travel content and discounted services and products, and provide subscribers an interactive network of travel industry professionals and travelers focused exclusively on family travel.
It was a relatively quiet week on the distribution front. This past week, Airbnb garnered a lot of attention from the usual suspects and the not so usual…Enjoy.
Tripadvisor Continues Its Rapid Evolution
(“Tripadvisor Is a Media Business So Why Did It Unload These 8 Brands? Jul 17, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Over the past weeks, we’ve featured stories on Tripadvisor’s many staff reductions, financial re-structuring, focus on quality over quantity and now, the disposition of eight of its media companies.With little fanfare, Tripadvisor announced this past week that it had disposed of Smarter Travel, Airfarewatchdog, BookingBuddy, OneTime, Oyster.com, Family Vacation Critic, What to Pack and Holiday Watchdog. All eight companies were acquired by travel marketing company, Hopjump.The sale is seen as part of Tripadvisor’s broader media shift that includes, among other things, a focus on B2B advertising and the advertising of products and services outside of travel.
Several themes emerged in this week’s stories, including the bullish return of short-term rentals and the continued direct booking efforts by airlines and the metasearch sites seeking to serve them. Enjoy.
Vrbo Hitting Its Stride
(“Vacation Rental Brand Vrbo Emerges as Expedia Star With Pandemic-Era Bookings,” Jul 6, 2020 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required); “Expedia’s Vrbo vacation rental business sees ‘significant’ growth as travel giant aims to cut costs,” Jul 6, 2020 via GeekWire)
For several weeks now, we have featured stories on the purported v-shaped recovery of the short-term vacation rental market. Does such a recovery represent a short-lived phenomenon or a seismic shift in travelers’ accommodation preferences in the post-COVID world? It is probably too early to tell, but Expedia’s announcement this past week only adds to the debate. Last Monday, Expedia reported that its rental platform Vrbo had increased its gross bookings year-over-year in the months of May and June. Expedia attributes Vrbo’s success to the platform’s largely whole-home inventory in drive-to destinations, which only months earlier had been viewed by many in the industry as a weakness. Vrbo’s success took place a month before Expedia began consolidating its two major rental platforms – Vrbo and Homeaway. Despite Vrbo’s success, gross bookings across the Expedia family of brands were down 45 percent in June (which is an improvement over the 85 percent decline experienced in March and April).
Perhaps it was Canada Day or the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but last week was relatively quiet in the distribution world. Enjoy.
Radisson Partners With Hotelbeds
(“Radisson Hotel Group Partners With Hotelbeds,” Jun 29, 2020 via Hotel Business)
Last week, Hotelbeds announced that it had entered into a preferred partnership with Radisson Hotel Group through which Hotelbeds will distribute “preferential” or “special” rates and inventory of 1,100 Radisson hotels through Hotelbeds’ network of 60,000 trade-connected wholesale and retail (travel agency) channels. Hotelbeds has been actively promoting this “full-service” intermediary role for some time now, particularly following Marriott’s announcement regarding its new Expedia partnership.
In this week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update, we cover TripAdvisor’s busy week, including the announcement about its new travel advisor referral service, Reco. Enjoy.
Say Goodbye to HomeAway
(“Expedia Group to Retire HomeAway U.S. Brand,” Jun 24, 2020 via Hotel Business – News)
Recently, Expedia announced that it was consolidating its short-term rental brands HomeAway and VRBO. Starting next month, users of the HomeAway website will be re-directed to VRBO, and users of the HomeAway mobile application will be directed to download and use the VRBO application. With the consolidation, Expedia will now focus its efforts and resources on a single short-term rental brand. The consolidation makes good on commitments made earlier this year by Barry Diller and others as part of the Expedia senior management overhaul.
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.