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Posts from November 2023.

With the U.S. holiday, this past week was definitely a quiet one.  Enjoy.

    • scam emailStories Continue to Emerge About’s Ongoing Fraud Challenges.  For several weeks now, we’ve included several stories about users being asked (fraudulently) to provide bank card details to preserve their previously made bookings.  To date, most of these stories have come out of Asia.  Now we have a story out of the UK, where users are now receiving emails from encouraging them to cancel their cards because of suspicious activity.  To date, has blamed the systems of their supplier partners for the apparent fraud.  That may now be changing.

    • Hubli Offers Real Time Meeting and Event Inventory. Those of you who have seen my group sales presentations know that I dedicate a portion of the presentations to online meetings and events.  I remain convinced that one of the large leisure booking platforms will one day master group bookings – either through its own in-house creation or acquisition of another smaller niche player.  While the large leisure platforms remain on the sidelines, the smaller platforms press ahead with their own solutions.  This week, Hubli announced that it has launched direct API connectivity (“Venue Connect”) that allows properties to offer real-time meeting and event inventory.  According to Hubli founder and CEO, Ciaran Delaney, Hubli is already working to build direct connections with several supplier partners.

After a few incredibly busy weeks in online travel, this past week was relatively quiet.  Enjoy.

    • Launches Cruises in the U.S.  For years now, we’ve featured stories in our weekly Update detailing the many challenges of booking cruises online.  The multitude of available sailings, cabins, pre and post accommodations, excursions, etc. were always referenced when explaining why cruises would never fit well on traditional online booking platforms. seems committed to change that.  Last week, began offering cruises to U.S. users through a white label cruise site with cruise agency, World Travel Holdings.  A similar partnership with Priceline already exists.  Users of the new platform will be able to select from over 10,000 sailings, and customers booking on the new platform will find exclusive offer and be eligible to receive shipboard credits of up to $1000 (depending on amount spent to book the cruise).  World Travel Agents will handle the bookings (which will be made via phone), customer service and customer emails. 

    • Airbnb May Look (Again) to Hotels to Fill Accommodations Demand.  Faced with a regulatory crackdown that has slashed the number of its NYC rental listings, Airbnb may soon turn to boutique hotels to fill the gaps.  Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky, reported in last week’s earnings call that boutique hotels presented “a real opportunity” for addressing the recent regulatory changes.  Readers of our Update will recall that Airbnb went down this hotel road before – even going so far as to create a special category for hotels on its platform- but that it ultimately dropped the effort with the onset of the pandemic.  Since that time, it has been difficult to discern whether Airbnb viewed hotels as a real opportunity.  We will have to wait and see whether this latest effort by Airbnb is different than the past. 

For those of you who I saw in Long Beach this past week at the HSMAI Sales Forum, it was great to see you. 

It is earnings season, which makes for a longer Update than usual:

    • Expedia Enjoys Strong Third Quarter Results.  While I am still working my way through the recent Expedia Group earnings call transcript, news of the recent quarter has been uniformly positive.  Expedia reported strong results (quarterly records in both revenue and EBITDA and a third quarter record in gross hotel bookings ($18.5 billion)) and even stronger results for its growing B2B business ($995 million in revenue, up 26% year over year and a quarterly record).  During the third quarter earnings call, Expedia CEO, Peter Kern, was optimistic about the prospects for the platform’s business now that its unified loyalty program OneKey and technology platform is complete.

    • Booking Holdings Also Enjoys a Strong Third Quarter.  Expedia’s largest competitor, Booking Holdings, also enjoyed a record third quarter.  Booked room nights and gross booking value ($39.8 billion) set new quarterly records.  Beyond hotel room accommodations, flights featured prominently in Bookings’ third quarter results with the platform selling 9 million flights during the quarter.

    • Google’s Anti-Trust Trial:  The Gift That Keeps Giving.  Over the past month, we have featured multiple stories detailing the testimony of various OTA executives at the ongoing Google anti-trust trial.  This past week, the comments of Expedia Group Chairman (and outspoken spokesman), Barry Diller, surfaced in the ongoing proceedings.  According to the reports, the comments were made by Diller back in 2019 when he claimed that he was “on the edge of a revolt” over Google’s increased monetization (e.g., paid display advertising) of its search results.  According to Diller, the increasing numbers of paid ads was punitive to Expedia and anyone else relying on a level search playing field. 

    • Another Week and Another Story on Scammers Leveraging’s Messaging Platform.  This week’s story comes to us from Singapore.

    • IHG’s Attribute Based Bookings Are Here.  While IHG’s effort to offer guests attribute-based booking functionality has long been the subject of industry reports (including our own Update), it appears that the functionality is now available, with new functions coming.  Through the IHG app, guests can now book rooms based on their location and view.  IHG hotels will soon also be able to offer add-ons (e.g., prepaid parking, food and beverage credits) to guests booking on the app.  According to IHG, offering these attributes presents an entirely new revenue opportunity for its properties.  It will be interesting to watch how third party platforms respond to attribute based bookings and pricing, which present an entirely new meaning to rate and availability parity.

Have a great week everyone. For those of you attending next week’s HSMAI Sales Leader Conference in Long Beach, I hope to see you there.  I will be presenting at the sales leader roundtable.

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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.

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