It was a relatively quiet week for the distribution industry. Enjoy.
Family Travel Club Launched in the Midst of a Pandemic
(“Online Family Travel Club Launched by Wall Street Journal Alums Unbowed by Pandemic,”
Jul 20, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
This past week saw the launch of The Expedition, a subscription-based online travel platform focused on families. Founded by two former newspaper and magazine editors (Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure and TIME), the newly launched platform will feature travel content and discounted services and products, and provide subscribers an interactive network of travel industry professionals and travelers focused exclusively on family travel.
Booking.com Introduces Rebooking Incentive
(“Booking.com creates rebooking incentive with money back for travelers, waived commission for suppliers,” Jul 20, 2020 via Phocus Wire)
Following the launch of its supplier-focused recovery program earlier this year (a program that has seen mixed responses from many suppliers), Booking.com is now turning its attention to travelers. This past week, Booking.com introduced a new incentive program in the United States focused on travelers whose travel plans were disrupted as a result of the pandemic. Travelers who previously canceled their U.S. accommodations bookings will receive a 15 percent credit for re-booked stays at the same property made by December 31 (for travel by April 30, 2021). Commissions on bookings made as a part of the program will also be waived. While some suppliers may celebrate the commission waiver, it will be interesting to see the response to the program’s temporary rate discounts by travelers, suppliers and Booking.com’s online competitors.
Narrow Parity Commitments Proposed in South Korea
(“Global online-booking platforms propose to remove broad MFN clauses in South Korea while retaining narrow ones,” Jul 20, 2020 via MLEX Insight)
Reports from South Korea indicate that Booking.com and Expedia are again advocating the use of “narrow” (direct channel only) parity provisions to appease Korean competition officials and to bring an end to the investigation into the companies’ contracting practices that began last year. For now, it is unclear whether the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) will go the way of regulators in Hong Kong and certain EU countries, and accept the “narrow” proposal or instead follow the lead of regulators in Italy, Germany and potentially Australia, and reject parity obligations all together.
Jul 21, 2020 via CNBC Travel
Jul 23r, 2020 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
There’s been speculation over the years about online travel companies getting into the hotel business, and Kayak CEO Steve Hafner teased as much during an interview on Thursday. Hafner, who heads Booking Holdings brands Kayak and OpenTable, dropped the hint during a pre-recorded interview for Travel’s Path Forward: Online Travel, when discussing the company’s product roadmap during the Covid-19 hiatus.
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.