We end 2020 with a heavy dose of antitrust/competition stories (which is a theme likely to continue into 2021), including updates from Russia, Croatia and the European Union. Those of you with properties in those markets may soon find new opportunities and methods to compete.
This week’s Update features a variety of stories – short-term rental, airlines, resort fees and antitrust developments in both the United States and the EU. Enjoy.
Say Hello to the First VR Booking Platform
(VResorts Launches Virtual Reality Booking Platform, December 15, 2020 via Hotel Business)
Gimmick? Maybe. I’ve been quite skeptical of the many purported uses for virtual reality in the travel industry. Singapore-based, VResorts wants us all to think differently. VResorts announced last week the launch of its virtual reality-enabled booking platform that allows users to browse and book hotels using only their VR devices. Hotels participating on the platform will be given the choice of providing VR videos and 360 degree photography or traditional static photography. No information was given on the source of the platform’s inventory or the costs associated with participating, though VResorts CEO and founder, Vladimir Varnavskii, claims that the platform will offer the same competitive pricing found on traditional online booking platforms, Expedia and Booking.com.
Last week’s news headlines were dominated with a major milestone in the short-term rental industry as Airbnb’s long-awaited IPO finally arrived. While many will continue to debate Airbnb’s initial valuation, one thing is clear: Having just raised $3.5 billion in the public markets, Airbnb has formally arrived. It presents formidable competition to the two current online travel behemoths, Expedia Group and Booking Holdings.
This week’s Update features a heavy dose of short-term rentals as the long-awaited Airbnb IPO finally arrives and many hoteliers seek to capitalize on growing (COVID-induced) traveler demand in this segment. Enjoy.
This week’s Update features our next PhocusWire Hot 2021 Startup, Volara. For those of you who have implemented (or considered implementing) voice-activated guest solutions, Volara is likely a familiar name. Enjoy.
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.