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Online Travel Update: Expedia Terminates Hopper, TUI Unveils Package Offerings, Priceline Partners with Amazon for Prime Day, and Finnair Concedes to OTA Discounts

FinnairThis week's Online Travel Update is below.  As evidenced by the number of stories in this issue, it was a busy week in the online travel world, ending with what appeared to be a distributor dogpile on competitor Hopper.  Enjoy.

    • Expedia Terminates Hopper; Kayak Joins Scrum.  Thursday’s industry headlines were dominated by news of Expedia’s termination of its hotel and vacation rental supply agreement with industry upstart Hopper (and by extension, its many white label B2B partners, including Capital One). While Expedia attributed the termination to concerns over consumer “confusion and anxiety,” Hopper and industry pundits were quick to point to Expedia’s likely growing competition concerns.  Sensing blood in the water, Kayak’s CEO, Steve Hafner, gratuitously jumped into the fray supporting Expedia’s decision to terminate.  Suppliers that rely on Expedia as their exclusive B2B distribution platform (or that are considering such a relationship in the future) must ask what such a termination might mean for them as a potentially important channel is terminated.   

    • TUI Unveils Package Offerings.  Travelers in the UK have a new (old) hotel booking option.  In June, European tour operator, TUI, known historically for its travel packages, launched a standalone platform in the UK.  By the end of the year, TUI expects to have over 30,000 hotels available on the platform for standalone bookings (together with bookings of other individual travel components).  Suppliers, it is time to review those existing tour operator agreements.     

    • Priceline Partners with Amazon for Prime Day.  While Booking Holdings has partnered in the past with Amazon to offer Amazon’s prime members discounts or other special benefits, Priceline’s partnership with Amazon to provide Prime members special U.S. Prime Day discounts is a first. 

    • Finnair Concedes to OTA Discounts.  In response to an ongoing investigation by the Swedish Competition Authorities, Finnair has agreed to no longer restrict how OTAs advertise and sell discounted flights on their websites.   Whether this decision by Finnair is instructive as to how competition authorities might view similar efforts by hoteliers (whose relationships with OTAs are considerably different than airlines’) remains to be seen. 

Expedia Group Announces Ugly Split With Hopper
July 14, 2023 via PhocusWire
Expedia Group is pulling its hotel and vacation rental supply from Hopper, charging the rival online travel agency with taking advantage of consumers. Hopper denied the criticism, saying Expedia's move is because it views Hopper "as a significant competitive threat."

Kayak’s Steve Hafner on the Expedia-Hopper Clash
July 13, 2023 via Skift Travel News
Skift Take Hopper critics see blood in the water. But the company has a loyal following among younger people that rivals would die for. Hopper has altered course many times before, and can make changes to shift the momentum.

How Egencia Is Helping Amex Global Business Travel Win Small Business Customers
July 11, 2023 via Skift Travel News
As business travel struggles in its post-pandemic recovery, Amex Global Business Travel (GBT) is using its acquisition of the Egencia corporate-travel management platform to focus on securing business from a key growth market: small- and medium-sized businesses.
The Swedish Competition Authority accepts voluntary commitment from Finnair
July 11, 2023 via
Finnair has agreed to drop its restrictions on ticket discounts by online travel agents, in order to end an antitrust investigation by the Swedish competition authority. 
Sabre expands retailing capabilities for hotels
July 10, 2023 via
“Retailing” is a word that’s been buzzing across the travel industry for several years. Driven in large part by the success of Amazon and other e-commerce retailers, revenue strategists at airlines and hotels have been developing ways to modernize the way air travel and hotel stays are sold.
TUI Adds Standalone Hotel Booking for UK Market
July 10, 2023 via Skift
TUI might be well-known for its package tours, but the operator remains intent on maximizing the cross-sell of dynamic pricing and standalone booking components to grow its market share.
EU antitrust deadline on Booking's Etraveli deal extended to Sept. 6
July 10, 2023 via Reuters
BRUSSELS, July 10 - EU antitrust regulators have extended their deadline for a decision on online travel agency Booking Holdings' (BKNG.O) 1.63-billion-euro ($1.8 billion) acquisition by a week to Sept. 6, a European Commission filing showed on Monday.
Amazon partners with travel site Priceline in a first for Prime Day
July 10, 2023 via Reuters
NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - Inc (AMZN.O) is partnering with travel booking site Priceline to offer discounts during Tuesday's Prime Day, the first time an online travel agency has participated in the shopping event. 

  • Greg  Duff

    Greg is Chair of the firm's national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism practice, which is directed at the variety of matters faced by hospitality and travel industry members, including purchase and sales agreements, management ...

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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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