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Posts from July 2024.

Good Sunday morning from Seattle... Our weekly Online Travel Update for the week ending Friday, July 19, 2024, is below. This week’s Update features a variety of stories, including news on the latest fines to be levied on Booking.com. Enjoy.

    • Recent Prime Day Travel Offerings Re-Kindle Amazon Rumors.  Regular readers of our weekly Update will recall the multiple stories we’ve featured over the years regarding Amazon’s rumored Interest in travel. Hailing from Seattle (like Amazon), I am asked often about Amazon’s interests at industry events and conferences.  As we noted in last week’s Update, Amazon again this year featured a limited offering of travel services as part of its annual Prime Day sale. Unlike prior years, this year’s offerings enjoyed their own dedicated “Prime Day Travel Deals” website page. Is this the beginning of a dedicated effort in travel? Only time will tell. In my opinion, absent a major acquisition by Amazon of an existing industry player, Amazon will only continue to play on the industry sidelines for the foreseeable future. 

    • Kayak Adds Features to Its Business Booking Platform. As competition in the corporate / managed travel space continues to escalate (see last week’s story on Marriott’s latest offering), Kayak announced this past week improvements to its Kayak for Business platform.  Users of the business platform will now have access to certain airline offerings (via API integration) and use of payment functionality.  Participating airlines include American, United and Southwest. 

    • Hungry Levies Record Fine on Booking.com. The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) announced last week that it had imposed a record fine on Booking.com for its failure to promptly cease certain previously identified commercial violations. The fine arises out of proceedings that commenced in 2018 when the GVH questioned Booking.com’s commercial practices – misleading free cancellation promises, psychological sales tactics and inaccurate payment information. In some instances, Booking.com took over four years to implement the required changes.

Have a great week everyone. Only two Updates remain before my upcoming departure. 

Good Sunday morning from Seattle . . .   Our weekly Online Travel Update for the week ending Friday, July 12, 2024, is below.  Marriott and its launch of a new small and medium sized business travel platform garnered most of the attention this past week.  While announcements by Expedia and Sumitomo Mitsui Card underscore an increasingly competitive travel card (now platform) landscape.  Enjoy.

    • Expedia Launches New Co-Branded Credit Cards.  Anyone surprised by this latest announcement?  In an attempt to further strengthen its growing loyalty program, One Key, Expedia this past week in partnership with Wells Fargo and Mastercard launched two co-branded credit cards.  Holders of the new cards will receive a variety of benefits, including the ability to earn One Key Cash, which can be used to book travel services and products across the Expedia Group family of platforms.  Holders of the cards will also receive elevated status within the One Key program, unlocking additional hotel room discounts and other benefits.  Those interested in the new cards can begin applying this summer.  Hoteliers should consider how these new cards and their “loyalty cash” rewards might affect parity across competing channels and whether these latest offerings violate pricing / discounting commitments contained in hoteliers’ existing distribution agreements.  These issues will become even more important with the soon-expected launch of a similar co-branded by card by Booking.com.

    • Amazon Expands Travel Offerings for Upcoming Prime Day.  Shoppers looking for the latest bargains during this week’s annual Amazon Prime Day (July 16-17) will now be able to shop a variety of travel products and services on a new dedicated page – “Prime Day Travel Deals.”  Participants in this year’s shopping extravaganza include Carnival Cruise Line, Southwest Airlines, Viator and Avis.  Members shopping the dedicated page will find discounts ranging from 20-30% off base fares / prices.  Regular readers of our Online Travel Update will recall that Priceline partnered with Amazon during last year’s Amazon Prime Day, though this year marks the first time Amazon has created a dedicated travel page.

    • Marriott Introduces Business Access by Marriott Bonvoy.  Marriott’s launch of its new small and medium sized business travel platform, Business Access by Marriott Bonvoy, captured much of the online travel industry’s attention this past week.  The new program, which is powered by Spotnana, offers business users a variety of traditional and non-traditional travel tools and services – discounted hotel stays at participating Marriott properties, loyalty program benefits, access to flights, rail tickets and rental cars and other traditional TMC services – expense management, employee tracking, etc.  To participate, travelers must be members of Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy.    

Have a great week everyone.

Good Saturday afternoon from Manson, Washington...I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday week/weekend, at least those of you in the United States. Our weekly Online Travel Update for the week ending Friday, July 5, 2024, is below. As you can seek, it was a quiet week. Enjoy.

    • HOTREC Releases 2024 Distribution Study. European hospitality association (representing hotels, restaurants and cares), HOTREC, released its annual hotel distribution study this past week.  Key findings of the study include (i) over the past year, OTAs have increased their share of the European market by an average of 10% (while direct channel distribution has decreased), (ii) small hotels rely Most heavily on OTAs, (iii) Booking.com enjoys a 71% share of the European hotel market, while Expedia is far behind at 15% and (iv) OTAs undercut hoteliers’ rates in 4 of 10 use cases examined. The association is cautiously optimistic that Booking.com’s recent gatekeeper designation under the DMA will produce meaningful results for European hoteliers in the months ahead.  A complete copy of the 2024 study is linked to our story below.

    • Kayak Launches Premium SME Offering. Kayak for Business has announced the launch of a new premium offering targeting small and medium sized businesses.  The new offering includes group bookings, 24/7 agency support and access to negotiated corporate rates.  Users will pay a flat $20 per trip fee.  The service can also integrate with a variety of additional services, including expense management and duty of care providers. 

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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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