For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving this week, happy holidays. This week’s Update features a wide variety of stories, including PhocusWire’s annual list of the 25 hot travel startups. Enjoy.
Expedia Partner Solutions Offers Carbon Neutral Hotel Stays
(“Expedia and Key Travel create ‘carbon neutral’ hotel stays,” November 18, 2021 via Travel Weekly (UK) – News)
Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) and Key Travel are collaborating to offer travelers the opportunity to offset the carbon emissions associated with their stay through the purchase of carbon offsets. With each stay booked through EPS, EPS and Key Travel will pay the amount of the carbon offset to nonprofit, Cool Effects, which will then invest the funds in verified carbon reduction projects around the world.
We begin this week’s Update with the announced acquisition of Getaroom by Booking Holdings. Enjoy.
Booking Holdings to Acquire Getaroom
(“Booking Holdings to Acquire Getaroom for $1.2 Billion,” November 12, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
On Friday (November 12), Booking Holdings announced one of its largest acquisitions in some time – the $1.2 billion purchase of B2B platform, Getaroom. At closing, Getaroom will join Priceline’s strategic partnerships team, Priceline Partner Network, which, Priceline claims, will result in new and improved B2B distribution opportunities for its hotel suppliers.
Last week was earnings week for many of the public online travel companies, and we’ve included stories summarizing those releases for several of the largest – Expedia Group, Airbnb, Booking Holdings and Sabre. We’ve also included copies of the transcripts of last week’s earnings calls for both Expedia and Booking. Enjoy.
Amazon Expands India Travel Offerings
(“Amazon to Offer Travel in India via MakeMy Trip,” November 3, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Last week, Indian online travel agent, MakeMyTrip, and Amazon announced a new partnership through which MakeMyTrip’s travel services will be made available to customers in India through the online retailer’s website and mobile application. Customers purchasing travel services on the Amazon platforms will also be able to pay for their purchases via Amazon Pay. According to the press release, the travel services will be available for booking in the next few months. Readers of our Update will know that this isn’t Amazon’s first foray into travel services – virtual tours in September 2020 and domestic air tickets and bus passes in India in May and December 2019.
Our cruise industry friends make an appearance in this week’s Update, one of their first appearances in some time. Enjoy.
South Korean Regulators Re-Examine OTA Practices
(“Online hotel booking sites to come under heightened scrutiny from South Korean regulator,” October 28, 2021 via MLEX Insight) (subscription may be required)
By now, readers are well aware of South Korea’s previous investigation into the major online travel agencies (OTAs)’ contracting practices (specifically, rate parity requirements) and the resulting “corrections” announced by OTAs (Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia and Hotels.com) earlier this year. These corrections mirror the compromises reached in several other countries where OTAs agreed to remove availability and indirect channel rate parity, but retained direct channel parity requirements (e.g., hoteliers must continue to provide OTAs with rates equal to or better than the rates on the hoteliers’ own websites). With the travel industry expected to rebound quickly in Korea as the threat of COVID subsides, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced last week plans to re-examine the OTAs’ current contracting practices and their effect on the market. Separately, the KFTC announced that an investigation into OTAs’ advertising practices, specifically whether OTAs provide adequate notice regarding display advertising’s effects on sort order, was already underway.
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.