This week’s Update features stories detailing recent fourth quarter earnings releases by TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Marriott and Sabre. Enjoy.
HotelPlanner Cancels Planned Merger
(“HotelPlanner.com SPAC Merger Called Off,” February 14, 2022 via Business Travel News)
It seems like only yesterday when many of our clients were left speculating as to what might come out of the newly announced merger and IPO of group booking platform, HotelPlanner, discount booking platform, Reservations.com and SPAC Astrea Acquisition Corp. There is no need for further speculation as the three companies announced last week that they have called off the planned merger. In their statement announcing the cancelation, the three companies offered no details as to the reasons behind the decision. One could speculate that HotelPlanner’s and Reservation.com’s differing reputations in the market might have played a role.
This week’s Update leads with an important Data Privacy Update from Eva Novick, the newest member of our firm’s privacy and data security team. If you currently operate a loyalty program (or plan to introduce one soon), I encourage you to read her important update. Enjoy.
The Travel Industry’s Push on Climate May Have Legs
(“Hotelbeds lays out eco and social initiatives, joins Amazon Climate Pledge,” February 11, 2022 via Phocus Wire)
For some time now, we’ve all seen the many surveys of would be travelers (particularly, younger travelers) detailing the importance of the environment and climate change in today’s travel decisions. Our weekly Update has recently featured a number of stories about this trend, including the recent launch of online platforms offering travelers carbon neutral travel. Last week, Spain-based bedbank, Hotelbeds, released its annual Environmental, Social and Government Report in which Hotelbeds claims it has again (for the fourth year running) attained carbon neutral status through a combination of carbon reductions and offsets. At the same time, Hotelbeds also announced that it has joined Amazon’s Climate Pledge, which features companies committed to eliminating their carbon emissions to zero by 2040. So what does this really mean? Will efforts like these mean enough to travelers to actually drive bookings or market share? With Hotelbeds feeling the heat from increased competition in its wholesale space (think Expedia EPS and soon, Priceline’s equivalent offering), Hotelbeds is “banking” on it.
This week’s Update features stories on Kayak, Hopper (again) and Shiji, and includes an important privacy update from California on loyalty programs.
Kayak and Cruise Critic Partner on Cruises
(“In new partnership, Kayak cruise searches will feed Cruise Critic,” February 4, 2022 via Travel Weekly)
Last week, Kayak (Booking Holdings) announced that it was expanding its cruise offering by partnering with Cruise Critic (TripAdvisor). Once implemented, the partnership will redirect users searching for cruises on Kayak to Cruise Critic where they can then review and book cruises through travel agencies or cruise suppliers.
To celebrate Data Privacy Day, on January 28, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an investigative sweep of businesses offering loyalty programs in California. This should come as no surprise, as Attorney General Bonta highlighted loyalty programs as one of the areas of non-compliance his office addressed during the first year of California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enforcement. In this sweep, the Attorney General’s office sent letters of non-compliance to businesses across different industries, including in the travel and food services industries. Those companies have 30 days to cure their non-compliance or will be subject to further enforcement action and penalties.
This week’s Update features a number of stories on short-term rentals, as one established vacation rental platform continues to gain relevance in traditional hotel room distribution while an established travel application looks to diversify into short term rentals. Enjoy.
New Platform Seeks to Capitalize on Travelers’ Growing Environmental Concerns
(“New online travel agency, Copolo, awarded the 2021 Travel & Hospitality Corporate Innovation Award by Plug and Play,” January 27, 2022 via PRWeb)
H.I.S. Group has been awarded Plug and Play’s 2021 Travel & Hospitality Corporate Innovation Award for its recently launched sustainability focused online booking platform, Copolo.com. Through its partnership with CHOOSE, Copolo allows travelers booking on its site to offset the carbon emissions produced by their travels. Given travelers’ growing concerns regarding the environmental impact of travel (as documented by nearly all recent traveler surveys and annual travel industry predictions), it cannot be long before platforms like Copolo (or at least the benefits that Copolo offers) become more mainstream.
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.