Our weekly Online Travel Update for the week ending Friday, November 18, 2022, is below. This week’s Update includes Phocus Wire’s annual listing of its Hot 25 Travel Startups. The list always provides an interesting glimpse at what may be coming in the months and years ahead in online travel. Enjoy.
- Phocus Wire’s Hot 25 Travel Startups. Phocus Wire’s fifth installment of up and coming travel companies is here. This year’s list features a variety of companies, the majority of which (14 of the 25) were started since the COVID crises began. Over the next few weeks, we plan to take a closer look at a few of the listed companies that caught our attention.
- TripAdvisor Considering Plans to Revise TripAdvisor Plus. New TripAdvisor CEO, Matt Goldberg, is apparently considering options for overhauling its much-criticized travel subscription program, TripAdvisor Plus. As many will recall, the program received little support from the major lodging brands for fear of undercutting their own direct channel efforts and/or violating existing third-party channel rate parity obligations. According to Goldberg, TripAdvisor may drop the existing $99 annual membership fee. While dropping the membership may help address lagging membership numbers, TripAdvisor will have to address the concerns of suppliers whose participation (and inventory) will be critical to any hoped success.
- Is Uber the Next Online Travel Distribution Platform? Uber’s travel-related offerings are expanding. When initially launched in March, the program (Uber Explore) allowed users to book activities (and an Uber ride to the activities) sourced through Yelp. With its new partnership with TripAdvisor’s Viator (and other announced partners), Uber will add to the events and activities available on the app and expand the program to over 10,000 cities. Are events and activities a sign of things to come? Will users one day be able to book accommodations (and a ride to their selected accommodation) on the widely used application?
- Yet Another New Payments Platform is Coming. Add Amadeus to the growing list of distribution platforms planning to provide users new payment (fintech) options. Amadeus reports that it is making a “significant investment” in the launch of a new payment business, Outpayce. As part of its effort, Amadeus has applied to the Bank of Spain for an eMoney license, which would allow Amadeus to provide regulated banking services in the EEA, including issuing payment cards.
Have a great week, and for those of you celebrating this week, Happy Thanksgiving.
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.