Happy holidays from snowy Seattle... As you can see from the stories we’ve included below, it was a very quiet week in online travel. Enjoy.
Is Google a Bigger Threat Than Ever?
(“Rise of Google Represents Ongoing Threat to OTAs,” December 23, 2021 via Hotel Management Network - Top Stories)
With Google’s 2020 revenues 15 times the combined 2020 revenues of Booking and Expedia and Google’s 2021 launch of free hotel booking links, some think a shift in the balance of power between online travel agencies (OTAs) and the search engine is inevitable.
With the holidays rapidly approaching and the yearend only one week away, it is no surprise that the last week was fairly quiet. The one notable exception, however, was Trip.com, which released its financials on Thursday, December 16.
Trip.com Grows European Market Share with Superior Technology
(“Trip.com Bolsters Flight Search Engine to Boost European Bookings,” December 17, 2021 via Skift) (subscription may be required)
Leveraging its increasingly superior technology platform (particularly around flight search), Chinese platform Trip.com is making huge strides in growing its European market share. Not only is Trip.com’s internally developed flight search engine better at delivering users appropriate fares and itineraries, but the systems’ ability to offer ancillary products and services is attracting the attention of European airlines. (Trip.com owns Travelfusion, one of a handful of technology vendors that aggregate airline NDC content for onward distribution.) Trip.com also plans to be one of the first online booking platforms to roll out Hopper’s price freeze tool (allowing users to pay to freeze fares up to 14 days) to users in North American and Europe as part of a previously announced deal.
Despite what the calendar might say, winter has definitely arrived in the Pacific Northwest. This week’s Update features a variety of stories, including a story or two on online travel agencies (OTAs), and stories on Vacasa’s public debut and Amex GBT’s planned public debut. Tis’ the SPAC season. I hope you enjoy.
Agoda Debuts Additional New Offerings
(“Agoda launches Beds Network to help hotels distribute wholesale rates,” December 9, 2021 via Phocus Wire)
Last week, we included a story detailing the launch of several new Agoda products. Last week, Agoda launched yet another new product, Beds Network, which represents Agoda’s formal entry into wholesale distribution. The Network will leverage Booking Holdings’ existing affiliate network to allow participating suppliers to distribute rates and inventory on a wholesale or B2B basis. According to the announcement, suppliers who participate in the program will have complete control (fully yieldable) over the rate and inventory offered through the solution (which if true, would be quite a departure from competitors’ similar wholesale distribution offerings). Existing Agoda suppliers won’t need to enter into new, or amend existing, contracts to participate. Agoda’s plans call for the Network to be rolled out initially in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with other markets added throughout 2022.
This week’s Update features stories about a number of emerging corporate travel startups, all of which expect, in one way or another, to take advantage of expected changes in the post-COVID corporate travel industry. Is it just me or is corporate travel starting to get really crowded?
Life House Raises an Additional $60 Million
(“Kayak-Backed Hotel Startup Life House Raises New Funding at $250 Million Valuation,” December 2, 2021 via Bloomberg – News) (subscription may be required)
Over the past year or two, we’ve featured a number of stories on New York-based Life House Hotels, including its operation of the Kayak Miami Beach in partnership with meta search platform, Kayak. Kayak appears to be interested in expanding that relationship as it joins other investors in this latest Life House financing round. The round values Life House, which as of the end of November, held 51 hotel management contracts, at approximately $250 million.
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.