This week’s Update features a number of stories on short-term rentals, which is a trend that we will likely see continue as interest continues to grow over Airbnb’s long-awaited IPO. Enjoy.
Marriott Continues Its Transition to Expedia Partner Solutions
(“Expedia Is Now Marriott’s Exclusive Provider of Wholesale Rates for Travel Agents,” Sep 14, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Last fall, we (like every major distribution news outlet) featured a story detailing Marriott’s decision to partner with Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) on the re-distribution of Marriott properties’ wholesale rates. This past week, the transition became official as EPS began emailing members and prospective members of the Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program and advising them that they would soon have exclusive access to higher margin wholesale rates for more than 7,400 Marriott properties (and with the transition to EPS comes the end of sourcing such rooms through legacy intermediaries (e.g., Hotelbeds)). In an effort to expand its Travel Agent Affiliate Program (which currently boasts 100,000 agents globally), Expedia is offering prospective affiliates a variety of offers, including increased commissions for bookings through December 31st. While Expedia has made efforts to expand its EPS wholesale offering, no other major brand has yet to follow Marriott’s lead.
Pandemic, protests and riots and now wildfires. To say 2020 has been a challenging year is an understatement.
As I anticipated, with summer now officially behind us, things have again picked up in the distribution world. This week’s Update features two stories on airline distribution, which as most of my readers know by now, I find instructive as to what we might soon see in the accommodations world, particularly as both industry segments consider plans for a post-pandemic world. Enjoy.
As One Airline Steps Forward Another Retrenches
(“Air France-KLM and Amadeus Sign Landmark Distribution Deal, Sep 10, 2020 via Skift Travel News; “Delta pauses NDC development, "doubles down" on existing distribution strategy, Sep 10, 2020 via Phocus Wire) (subscription may be required for Skift Travel News)
By now, most everyone is familiar with new distribution capability (NDC) and its potentially disruptive effect on traditional airline distribution. Over the years, we’ve featured dozens of articles about the technology and the bitter battles that have been waged between carriers and their traditional global distribution system (GDS) partners over adoption of the technology. This past week saw announcements by two major airlines detailing the drastically different directions each was taking with regard to the future of airline distribution.
As summer was coming to a close last week (and people everywhere were doing best to hang onto the last few glimmers), there was little noteworthy news coming out of the distribution world. Enjoy.
Travel Marketers Beware: Apple’s Updated Privacy Practices May Be A Marketer’s Nightmare
(“How Apple’s New Privacy Effort Will Impact Travel Marketing, Sep 3, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
While Apple announced late last week that it was likely postponing until early next year previously announced changes to its privacy practices, the proposed changes nevertheless warrant attention by hoteliers and OTAs alike. The changes, which are part of Apple’s campaign to provide users greater transparency and control over their data, require application developers to secure users’ affirmative consent (“opt-in”) before tracking their online practices. The changes further require developers to clearly disclose what data they will be collecting and with whom they will be sharing the data. Should iOS users decide against allowing applications to track their online behavior, hoteliers and OTAs (both of whom maintain branded applications and rely heavily on online marketing firms to place targeted ads in third-party applications) may soon have to find new (or even old) methods of reaching their guests.
This week’s Update features important updates on the status of rate parity in the EU and introduces yet again, new tools by Google for safety conscious travelers.
Suppliers Come and Go on Google’s Short-Term Rental Platform
(“Booking Is In, Airbnb Is Out of Google Vacation Rentals,” Aug 26, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Participate in the free advertising program of the world’s most dominant search engine (and at the same time further strengthen the search engine’s dominance) or shun the program and its millions of potential users and go it alone? That is the difficult choice currently facing short-term rental suppliers (i.e., OTAs and management companies). In the year since Google launched its vacation rental program, suppliers have come and gone (and come again). Just a few months ago, neither Booking.com nor its sister-company, Agoda, participated in the program (after being featured as one of the primary participants at the program’s launch in early 2019). Airbnb followed quite a different path, joining the platform when Booking.com/Agoda were out and then leaving the platform when Booking.com/Agoda returned. Today, Booking.com and Agoda are both participants, while Airbnb is not.
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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.