Our weekly Online Travel update for the week ending January 13, 2023 is below. This week’s update features an interesting update on the OTAs’ current loyalty programs and future ambitions, and recent (somewhat disturbing) comments from Booking.com’s CFO about Booking.com’s ambitious plans for its payments platform . Enjoy
- OTAs’ loyalty ambitions continue to evolve. FocusWire featured last week an interesting story on the evolving loyalty ambitions of the major distribution platforms – Expedia, Booking.com, Hopper and Airbnb (interesting to note that Agoda/Priceline, Trip.com or other major platforms did not make it) . Highlights from the article include (1) Expedia’s upcoming introduction of its new combined loyalty program, One Key, which will reward members with both instant discounts and loyalty program accruals that can be used for future bookings (including VRBO), (2 ) the expected collaboration between Booking.com’s existing loyalty program (Genius), its Rewards and Wallet program and its new payment platform to offering members upfront discounts (up to 20% now and possibly greater in the future) and loyalty program accruals and (3) Hooper and Airbnb’s alternative approach to building brand loyalty through gamification (Hopper) and service programs alternative (Airbnb’s Aircover) without a traditional membership program.
- The future of Booking.com’s payment platform? Booking Holdings CFO David Goulden’s latest comments, which appeared last week on Dennis Schaal’s weekly Online Travel Briefing for Switching, sent minor tremors through the hotel industry. In his comments, Goulden blamed Booking.com’s slowing growth (in the pre-pandemic years) on its over-reliance on the agency model (ie the hotel aggregation model). Now, with the deployment of Booking.com’s payment platform (and its new merchant role), things may change at Booking.com. According to Gould, the payment platform will allow Booking.com to better market its products and services through various newly available “leverages”. More specifically, regarding hotel fees, Gould noted that “we [Booking.com] we relied entirely on what we got from our property partners to give us a good rate, because that’s still what we do primarily, but we couldn’t participate in those more targeted price promotions and now we can. ” What should suppliers anticipate for 2023? Appreciate the discounts? Instant credit or rebate? Armed with recent (favorable) changes and clarifications in EU competition law, Booking.com is poised to take advantage of any or all of these opportunities.
Good week everyone.
Trip.com Group sees Mainland China travel bookings surge boosted by Lunar New Year demand
January 13, 2023 via Markets Insider
SINGAPORE, Jan. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Trip.com Group, a leading global travel services provider, has seen Chinese travel demand continue to grow ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday season. This follows the decision last month by mainland China to officially lift all quarantine restrictions…
Tracking the Loyalty Strategies of Online Travel Giants
Jan 12, 2023 via PhocusWire
Building travel loyalty has been a stumbling block for the industry since the early days of the Internet. Travel being an infrequent activity combined with consumers’ high price sensitivity, further reinforced by the damage done by OTAs themselves for focusing their communications primarily on low prices, seemed to be insurmountable obstacles for …
Fliggy adds tours and activities through Globaltix partnership
Jan 12, 2023 via PhocusWire
Fliggy, the Alibaba-owned online travel platform, has partnered with tour and activity distribution specialist GlobalTix. The deal integrates GlobalTix’s experiences marketplace, including attractions and tours across 40 countries, into Fliggy. Through the partnership, Chinese travelers will be able to research and book tours and activities…
DER Touristik in advanced talks to take over rival FTI – Handelsblatt
January 12, 2023 via Reuters
BERLIN, Jan 12 (Reuters) – German tour operator DER Touristik, a unit of retail group REWE, is in advanced negotiations to take over Munich-based rival FTI, daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the transaction. A prerequisite for the deal would be a massive cut in FTI…
Bookings Holdings’ business model was slowing things down pre-Covid
January 11, 2023 via Skift Travel News
Skift Take payments, flights and short-term rentals are delivering results so far for Bookings as part of the connected travel strategy. This is true even if there are doubts about travelers wanting to book their entire trip on one platform. Dennis Schaal’s Online Travel Conference Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Executive …