Oct. 14th

  • Priceline inventory to be available via TripAdvisor instant booking
  • Amazon abandons hotel booking service
  • Australian consumer watchdog slams AirBnB and eDreams over undisclosed fees
  • Wego infographic pictures rate parity



  Article Published
1. Priceline Group hotels go down instant booking route via TripAdvisor The direct booking versus OTA debate just ratcheted up a notch with news that Priceline Group’s hotel inventory will be made available via the TripAdvisor instant booking platform. It was only relatively recently that the instant booking platform began to get serious interest with a partnership with Marriott announced in June followed by Hyatt in July. From Tnooz News Feed Wed. Oct. 14th
2. Amazon Abruptly Shuts Its Hotels Business After Stilted Efforts to Compete Amazon abruptly shut its fledgling hotel booking service with no warning. Amazon Skift Take: It was telling that when the U.S. Department of Justice reviewed hotel competitors during its analysis of Expedia’s acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide, the antitrust division cited TripAdvisor and Google as rising competitors but didn’t mention Amazon. — Dennis Schaal Amazon, which in April moved beyond selling deeply discounted hotel rooms into a more well-rounded hotel-booking business, abruptly shut down its Amazon Destinations service entirely with no warning. From Skift Travel News Thu. Oct. 15th
3. AirBnB and eDreams pinged by ACCC over undisclosed fees SARAH DANCKERT Lodging website AirBnB and online travel agency eDreams have run foul of Australian consumer law after customers were slugged with fees. From The Age Tue. Oct. 13th
4. Wego infographic – The truth about hotel rate parity Wego.com, the leading travel search site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, unravels the myths surrounding online hotel rate parity. “Finding the right hotel and getting a good room rate can be a struggle even for the most seasoned traveller,” said Craig Hewett, Wego co-founder. From Hospitality Net – Latest Industry News Tue. Oct. 13th


 Oct. 9th

  • Expedia CFO defends Australian parity arrangements …
  • … as hotel trade group AAA speaks out against OTA business practices and urges government to take action
  • Lufthansa says GDS surcharge is only the beginning; plans may include new distribution platform
  • EU-US Data Transfer “Safe Harbor” agreement is ruled invalid by European Court of Justice
  • Irish consumer agency says Booking.com is restricting price competition
  • AHLA says millions of online bookings are by  third-party scammers
  • Expedia’s metasearch platform Trivago ramps up as Google booking threat looms
  • Escapio in Germany switches to metasearch


  • Booking.com retools itself to offer apartment rentals and Airbnb competitor


  Article Published
1. Expedia defends Australian hotel contracts

Expedia chief financial officer Mark Okerstrom has claimed the online travel agent’s requirement for “price parity” in contracts with hotels, which do not allow accommodation providers to offer a lower price on their own website, helps boost overall room sales.

From Hotelmarketing.com


Oct. 8th

2. Hotels urge ACCC to take action against Expedia and Priceline Hotel operators want online travel agencies to abandon the practices of “price parity”, last room availability and “brandjacking”. From The Age Tue. Oct. 6th
3. For Lufthansa GDS surcharge is step one toward disrupting the system

In the latest public discussion of Lufthansa’s GDS surcharge, a carrier executive made clear what the end goal is: the disruption of the current distribution system. The Distribution Cost Charge, a €16 surcharge on every booking made through a GDS, is “only one initial step,” the company says.

From Hotelmarketing.com


Oct. 8th

4. Selling travel digitally in Europe just got trickier if you are in the US A 15-year-old deal that permits companies to transfer customer data from the European Union to the United States has been ruled invalid by Europe’s highest legal authority, the European Court of Justice. The so-called “safe harbor” agreement was ruled invalid because, in brief, it made it hard for European watchdogs to enforce national privacy laws. This matters because some national privacy laws, like Germany’s, are strict and their sanctions have teeth. But that’s not the last word on data protection for the roughly 4,400 companies that use safe harbor. If you’re a large company, such as a multinational like Expedia Inc and Priceline Group, you are probably okay. Your legal team has most likely already negotiated individual agreements that let you continue to collect and share data in compliance with European rules. From Tnooz News Feed Tue. Oct. 6th
5. Booking.com restricting price competition, Irish watchdog found

Irish hotel prices could start to fall after Europe’s largest online travel agent platform was rapped over the knuckles and forced to change its policies here by the consumer watchdog.

From Hotelmarketing.com


Oct. 7th

6. Hotel group claims millions of online bookings every year are scams The American Hotel & Lodging Association has claimed 15 million online hotel bookings in the US alone have been affected by “deceptive rogue affiliates”. The lobbying group obviously has a vested interest in having consumers book hotels direct with the property owner or chain, so perhaps the figures should be taken with a grain of salt. But the material coming out of the AH&LA, following a consumer survey it did with research company GFK , warrants a mention as it does shine a light on the issue at a general level. The 15 million dodgy bookings, AH&LA estimates, translates to around $1.3 billion in money “going to bad bookings” each year. From Tnooz News Feed Mon. Oct. 5th
7. Is Trivago Expedia’s Answer To Google and TripAdvisor’s Hotel Partnership Spree? | Forbes.com TripAdvisor‘s hotel chain partnerships and Google‘s foray into hotel bookings must have shaken up Expedia about the value that metasearch engines can create by partnering directly with hotels. Expedia’s metasearch platform, Trivago, is also gearing up to provide stiff competition in the metasearch segment. In a recent interview, Trivago’s managing director and head of hotel relations, Johannes Thomas, stated that the company had changed its focus this year to give more importance to direct hotel relationships. Trivago has also updated its Hotel Manager platform to attract more independent hotels. We believe that Trivago is strengthening its metasearch competency in order to help Expedia in its quest to gain a larger portion of both the hotel suppliers and travelers, on its platform. From Forbes.com Fri. Oct. 9th
8. Germany’s Escapio switches to hotel metasearch

The original booking website model was becoming harder to sustain because of the growth of Booking.com, which has approximately 50% market share in Germany, not to mention other large players like HRS and Expedia.

From Hotelmarketing.com


Oct. 9th

9. Airbnb Needs to Watch Out for Booking.com’s Apartment Ambitions Booking.com has long offered apartments but now it is making a conscious effort to add them and is telling the world all about it. Booking.com Skift Take: Booking.com wants to answer the needs of “one customer,” the one who books an apartment one day and a five-star hotel the next. Yes, a revolution in lodging is under way and Booking.com is now shouting about it. From Skift Travel News Tue. Oct. 6th



Sep. 25th 

  • Google ramps up hotel-booking efforts
  • UK CMA says it will continue to monitor hotel pricing issues, although formal investigation now closed
  • Expedia launches app for hotel partners with booking info, alerts, and competitor info
  • Harvard Business Review Case Study – should hotels invest in a new kind of OTA?
  • Puerto Rico settles OTA tax dispute



  Article Published
1. Google Just Upended Hotel DistributionGoogle has quietly changed its approach to the hotel industry in a big way. Separate initiatives have combined to expand Google’s hotel distribution influence. From Hospitality.net Thu. Sept. 24th
2. IHG welcomes end of investigation into ‘rate parity’ InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has welcomed the decision by the Competition and Market Authority to close its three-year investigation into discounting restrictions surrounding the price of hotels rooms. From The Caterer – Latest Hospitality News Thu. Sept. 24th
3. Expedia Unveils App For Hoteliers Expedia Inc., one of the world’s leading travel companies, today introduced the Expedia® PartnerCentral App for iPhone and Android. This mobile app is touted as a new way to help hoteliers manage their business on Expedia anytime, anywhere, and was created to help solve the everyday problems hoteliers face in an increasingly fast- paced and competitive world. The Expedia PartnerCentral app experience is designed to provide Expedia hotel partners with easy to use tools and actionable insights at their fingertips. From Hospitality Net – Latest Industry News Fri. Sept. 25th
4. Case Study: Should a Hotelier Invest in a New Kind of Online Travel Agency? From Harvard Business Review Mon. Sept. 21st
5. Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Settles Tax Dispute With Travel Sites Puerto Rico’s government-owned tourism company on Monday settled in federal court a contentious dispute over back-due hotel taxes with a group of online travel companies including Expedia Inc., Priceline.com Inc. and Orbitz LLC, on the day it was set to go to trial. Terms of the confidential settlement agreement were not available, but U.S. District Judge Jose Antonio Fuste entered a judgment in the case on Monday following a joint stipulation for dismissal over the weekend filed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. From Law360 : Retail & Ecommerce Sun. Sept. 20th

 Sep. 14th, 2015

  1. Insight in to AA’s expanded Expedia relationship
  2. Hospitality enters the post rate-parity era
  3. Expedia may face patent suit
  4. Time to disrupt hotel distribution?


  Article Published
1. Why Did American Airlines Expand Its Partnership With Expedia? Expedia had removed the American Airlines’ flights from its websites in January 2011, out of its own economic interest and as a sign of support to Orbitz which was in a dispute with American Airlines. American Airlines had demanded Orbitz create a direct technology connection between the two entities, thereby circumventing Orbitz’s global distribution system providers. However, after a financial setback, Expedia went back to reestablish ties with American Airlines in April 2011. From Forbes Market News Fri. Sept. 11th
2. Is Hospitality Ready for the Post-Rate Parity Era? – By Max Starkov Some hoteliers argue that the industry would be better off without rate parity because hoteliers would be able to sell at whatever rates they want, free from the OTA rate parity restrictions. In other words, the abolishment of rate parity would be a good thing for the industry. Unfortunately I find these arguments rather naïve, especially coming from hoteliers who consistently under-invest in the direct online channel, and in their digital marketing and technology. From Hospitality Industry News Tue. Sept. 8th
3. Expedia, Others Can’t Duck E-Commerce Patent Suit A Delaware federal judge refused Expedia Inc., Travelocity.com LP and Priceline.com Inc. a judgment on the pleadings over Cronos Technologies LLC’s remote ordering system patent, ruling Tuesday that its claims could be found eligible. The travel websites had sought to invalidate some claims of the at-issue patent for being directed toward patent-ineligible subject matter. Wed. Sept. 9th
4. Hoteliers, Disrupt Before Someone Else Does | HotelNewsNow.com Fundamental changes to the digital landscape are giving rise to a new breed of travel distribution competitor. Here’s how hoteliers can combat them. Hotel distribution companies face fundamental disruption as the industry shifts online, digital distribution rapidly evolves—particularly mobile device penetration—and new competitors seek to grab a share of the hotel industry’s margins. We have been writing about the distribution landscape and challenges facing hotel companies for many years, and believe the next wave of challenges is imminent. The stakes are high and rising for hotels to get their digital distribution right. From Hospitality Net – Latest Industry News Fri. Sept. 11th

Sep. 4th, 2015


  • Priceline slams class cert in US District of CT room bidding case
  • Unbundling the hotel – 52 startups to watch
  • NY Times story creates buzz on ways hotels are offering perks to encourage direct bookings
  • PR judge says travel sites may face taxes
  • Online travel sites battle for market share
  • AA expands relationship with Expedia; offers more perks and bundled options



  Article Published
1. Priceline Slams Class Cert In Room Bidding Row The Priceline Group Inc. on Thursday blasted a class certification bid in Connecticut federal court, in a case brought by a traveler who allegedly paid undisclosed fees to Hilton Worldwide Inc. after booking a room on the travel company’s website. Adam Singer filed the suit in July claiming that Priceline conceals known mandatory resort fees from customers using the company’s “Name Your Own Price” feature, misleading thousands of users about the actual price of their bookings. Singer submitted a brief two-sentence motion for class certification in August, explaining that it was solely for the purpose of avoiding a dispute over whether the case would become moot in the event that an offer of judgment is made. From Law360 – Class Action Fri. Sept. 4th
2. Unbundling the Hotel: The 52 Startups Marriott and Hilton Should Be WatchingThe hotel industry has undergone major shifts in the last decade thanks to tech, due to the rise of online travel reservation portals and distributed hospitality platforms, like HomeAway and AirBnB. As smartphones bring even more people online and connectivity increases globally, these trends will continue to impact established players like Starwood, Hilton, and Marriott. Mon.Aug. 31st
3. Hotels offer new perks to try to bypass Expedia, cut out the middleman in online booking Expedia has been on a tear recently, gobbling up competitors as it stands poised to push its share of U.S. travel bookings above 75 percent. The company has even carved out its own slice of the Seattle waterfront on which is plans to grow an empire befitting a true tech giant. But as the company becomes an increasingly imposing force in the travel industry, hotel chains like Hyatt and Hilton are gearing up to fight back with new perks for customers who book directly, according to a report from The New York Times. From GeekWire Tue. Sept. 1st
4. Travel Sites Could Face Taxes Over Biz Model, Judge Says A Puerto Rico federal judge said Monday that online travel companies operating in the commonwealth could arguably be subject to certain hotel taxes, pointing to evidence from a government-backed tourism company that the sites exercise “complete control” over the financial aspects of the transaction. From Law360 – Hospitality Mon. Aug. 31st
5. Online Travel Sites Battle For Share: Spare Room Anyone? When Expedia (EXPE) bought Travelocity in November, the big-four U.S.-based global online travel companies became three. If Expedia’s pending $1.3 billion merger with Orbitz (OWW) gets the green light from the Justice Department, the three will then be two — Expedia and Priceline (PCLN). Expedia expects the merger to close by year-end, though it’s being challenged by hotel and airline trade groups as anti-competitive. From Los Angeles Investor’s Business Daily – Business News Fri. Aug. 28th
6. American Airlines deepens its direct connect with Expedia by merchandising seats American Airlines has extended its distribution deal that places its inventory on Expedia , Travelocity , and Hotwire . By end of the year, those online travel agency sites will begin to show American Airlines’ paid seating options, such as its Main Cabin Extra bundled product that provides more leg room and priority boarding, via the online seat map. From Tnooz News Feed Wed. Sept. 2nd

Aug. 28th, 2015

  • Expedia/Orbitz merger delayed while DOJ reviews deal
  • Lufthansa direct-booking discounts rile agents and intermediaries
  • Montana rules OTAs must pay tax on booking fees
  • France forbids rate parity clauses by law
  • OTAs allowed to present arguments re: business models in Puerto Rico tax dispute
  • Danish competition watchdog closes probe into hotel-booking portals
  • Ryanair launches full-featured travel site to avoid dependence on 3rd parties
  • Industry insiders say Airbnb is evolving in to a direct threat to hotels; will focus on business travel


  Article Published
1. Expedia pushes back Orbitz termination date amid Justice Department review Expedia is holding off on its acquisition of Orbitz announced in February. The Bellevue-based travel giant pushed back the termination date on the merger agreement from Aug. 12 to Nov. 12. From GeekWire Mon. Aug. 17th
2. Lufthansa Offers Direct Booking Savings and Agents Aren’t Happy Other airlines will feel more comfortable charging fees to encourage travelers to book directly if Lufthansa’s plan works. Travel agents and other intermediaries will be in trouble if this becomes a trend. From Skift Travel News Fri. Aug. 28th
3. Court: Online companies must pay tax on booking fees Online travel companies such as Priceline, Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia must pay Montana’s sales tax on lodging and car rentals for the fees they collect from customers. From The Montana Standard News Thu. Aug. 13th
4. France Forbids Rate Parity Clauses by Law The French National Assembly took an important decision by adopting in the final vote of the ‘Law Macron’ the deletion of any rate parity clauses from contracts between hoteliers and Online Travel Agents and qualifying the term of the contracts as “mandate contract”. This is the first decision at legislative level in Europe to ban explicitly rate parity clauses from such contracts. From Hotel News Resource Thu. July 30th
5. Travel Sites Can Dispute Biz Model In Puerto Rico Tax Row A Puerto Rico federal judge ruled Thursday that the island’s government-owned tourism company can’t stop Expedia Inc. and other online travel companies from presenting arguments about their “merchant model” in a trial over hotel taxes, finding prior court decisions left room for factual disputes under Puerto Rican law. From Law360 – Tax Thu. Aug. 27th
6. Danish competition watchdog closes probe into hotel-booking portals (No link)The Danish competition authority has closed its investigation of hotel-booking portals. The authority considers changes that were made — by booking portals Expedia/Hotels.com and Booking.com themselves — to clauses that triggered the probe to be no longer harmful to competition, therefore there is no reason to continue the investigation. Specifically, hotels were previously prevented from offering lower prices on rival portals.From MLex
7. Ryanair to take on online travel companies with new site Airline to go up against Skyscanner, Booking.com and others From Irish Times – Business Tue. Aug. 11th
8. Airbnb’s threat to hotels may be structural, going beyond tax fight Airbnb , originally a short-term rental listings platform, may become a direct threat to hotels, according to some asset managers and chain executives. The alarm was heightened when the San Francisco startup said it had signed 500 companies within one day of opening its travel management tool to businesses worldwide — bringing its total client list to more than 1,000 companies, such as Google, TBWA, and Salesforce.From Tnooz News Feed Wed. Aug. 26th


July 31st, 2015

  • DOJ Expedia-Orbitz merger approval may be imminent
  • Hotel industry applauds recent DC Appeals Court OTC ruling
  • OTAs continue market share growth
  • Amazon Travel doubles hotel coverage; Hires former Expedia exec
  • ‘China’s Airbnb’ valuation exceeds $1B
  • Asian luxury travel site announces $60M funding, led by Google
  • Tripping.com raises $16M for a search engine targeting alternative lodging
  • Expedia reports strong financial results


  Article Published
1. Expedia-Orbitz Merger Approval Could Be Soon As U.S. Senators Ask Justice Department To Take Hard Look Two U.S. Senators want the Justice Department to take a close look at the Expedia-Orbitz merger. The headshot in the above photo is of Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Two U.S. Senators, who are the ranking member and the chair of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust matters, asked the Department of Justice to review competition issues involved in Expedia Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Orbitz Worldwide . From Skift Travel News Thu. July 30th
2. Hotel Industry Applauds D.C. Court Of Appeals OTC Ruling The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee lodging industry, today applauded the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals decision requiring online travel companies to pay more than $60 million in unpaid sales taxes and interest to the District of Columbia, asserting that these companies are liable to pay a sales tax on the amount charged to consumers rather than the amount paid to hotels for rooms. From Hospitality Net – Latest Industry News Mon. July 27th
3. OTAs continue to steal market sharePreliminary research sheds new light on cost of customer acquisition.From HNN Fri.July 31st
4. Amazon Travel Doubles Hotel Coverage and Hires Former Expedia Exec Amazon Destinations has been redesigned, emphasizing larger images. Amazon Skift Take: Officials at Booking.com and Expedia know their hotel businesses are so far ahead of Amazon’s nascent moves that they aren’t cowering in fear at the might of Amazon. From Skift Travel News Thu. July 30th
5. ‘China’s Airbnb’ rests easy over $1.3 billion valuation As the number of Chinese technology ventures valued at more than US$1 billion (S$1.37 billion) continues to increase, a frequently asked question is whether those startups are getting overvalued. Is there a tech bubble that is waiting to burst? At the Converge tech conference Thursday, a co-founder of a Chinese billion-dollar startup made a case for optimism on the future of China’s tech startup scene. From Asia One Business Thu. July 30th
6. Luxury travel site gets $60M backing led by Google Luxury online travel company Secret Escapes announced a $60 million funding round on Sunday, as it looks to expand its appeal to Asian holidaymakers. From CNBC Europe – Business News Fri. July 24th
7. Tripping.com Locates $16 Million for Alternative Lodgings Search Engine Non-hotel lodgings listed on metasearch site Tripping.com tripping.com Tripping.com in San Francisco has raised $16 million in Series B funding to grow a search engine that helps travelers find the best available vacation rentals in the locations and budget ranges they want. Led by Steadfast Financial, the deal comes as the number of non-hotel accommodations is growing world-wide and as travelers show increasing willingness to spend their time and budgets on these. HomeAway , Priceline, TripAdvisor and Airbnb capture just 22% of this market, leaving smaller regional or specialty players and other competitors a $78 billion slice of an estimated $100 billion global market. From Wall Street Journal Blogs Venture Capital Dispatch Tue. July 28th
8. Expedia Shares Fly As Room Night Growth Accelerates Expedia (EXPE) shares are taking off late Thursday as the online travel agency’s second-quarter results came out ahead of consensus views and said room night growth accelerated year over year. Adjusted earnings fell 13.6% to 89 cents a share, 4 cents above analyst estimates. Revenue grew 11% to $1.662 billion from last year, slightly above forecasts for $1.659 billion. Minus the impact of the strong dollar, revenue rose 25%, said the company. From Los Angeles Investor’s Business Daily – Technology News Thu. July 30th



July 24th, 2015


  • DC Appeals Court rules OTAs must pay $60 million in back taxes due to using amount they paid to hotels instead of what guests actually paid
  • Kayak experiments with a Booking.com look-alike site
  • TripAdvisor gives high-profile spots to paying hotel ads in new test
  • Tourism Australia sings major agreement with Expedia
  • OTA European Parity amendments have little real effect, say industry insiders
  • Expedia online strategy involves testing; gathering customer data


  Article Published
1. Appeals court rules top travel websites must pay D.C. $60 million in unpaid taxes The D.C. Court of Appeals has checked in with a hotel tax win for D.C. The Washington Post reports the court upheld a $60 million payment from seven of the top travel websites. This could be the largest payment ever received by the District’s tax office. It’s been a long road. The case, Expedia v. District of Columbia, began back in 2011. D.C. argued the companies, which included Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity and Travelscape, owed millions in unpaid taxes. From Washington DC Business Journal – Morning Call Fri. July 24th
2. Kayak Experiments as Booking.com Clone This is a small experiment on Kayak that turns the site into a Booking.com clone, complete with a Reserve button and no price comparisons. Kayak Skift Take: Is Kayak abandoning metasearch? Not likely at all. But why not test photos and merchandising messaging on a site that is a Kayak offshoot instead of a Booking.com clone? From Skift Travel News Thu. July 23rd
3. TripAdvisor gives high profile spot to paying hotels in new ad test TripAdvisor is piloting a series of new prominent advertising spots on some of its most important pages on the site. Visitors landing on one of TripAdvisor’s city pages, for example, will now see a paid-for placement from a partner, ahead of its “natural” listings. From Tnooz News Feed Thu. July 23rd
4. Tourism Australia partners with Expedia Tourism Australia and the Expedia group have signed a multi-million dollar three-year marketing partnership aimed at developing campaigns and content to increase international travel to Australia. The three year Memorandum of Understanding represents the first formal agreement which Tourism Australia has entered into with a global online travel agency. From CIM Magazine Latest News Wed. July 22nd
5. OTA European parity amendments change little Industry insiders are unimpressed with the recent announcement that Expedia will follow Booking.com’s decision to amend rate-parity agreements with hoteliers in Europe to allow them to post cheaper rates with other third-party online travel agencies. From Alltop Hotel Blogs Fri. July 24th
6. Intense testing and learning is now central to Expedia online strategy Expedia is gathering increasing data on customers and their behaviour using a “test and learn” process on its sites. The thinking behind “test and learn” is that anyone in the company, across all disciplines, can propose an idea, explain the hypothesis behind it and it will get voted on to decide whether it is tested. From Tnooz News Feed Tue. July 21st



July 17th, 2015

  • Skift FAQs on European rate parity reforms
  • Travel Technology Association (TTA) speaks out against airline policies which restrict fare and schedule info
  • Italian court overturns TripAdvisor fine
  • Is increasing OTA consolidation bad news for hotels?
  • Virtual, live travel concierges now featured on several travel apps
  • Booking.com looks to move in Airbnb’s home-stay market
  • Google is getting serious about hotel booking business
  • Activities sector ripe for inclusion in OTAs
  • Expedia opens Hawaii office
  • Expedia launches new technology to help blind travelers


  Article Published
1. FAQ on New Rules for European Hotel Rates: How Booking Sites Could Feel Pain Under new limited rate-parity rules going into effect in Europe, hotels such as Accor would be able to offer lower rates to the general public on TV and over the phone than they give to online travel agencies. Skift Take: Over the long term, the new limited rate-parity rules in Europe could help hotels generate more bookings from their own direct channels, including over the phone. From Skift Travel News Mon. July 13th
2. Online travel sites leery of new airline policies It turns out there are a number of interested parties following the Justice Department’s investigation into possible collusion among U.S. airlines. In particular, it is travel-related businesses that have expressed some concern. Mon. July 13th
3. TripAdvisor gets Italian fine overturned An Italian court has overturned a €500,000 (US$550,000) fine imposed last December on the online travel company TripAdvisor for allegedly publishing misleading information in its reviews. The fine was imposed by Italy’s Competition Authority (AGCM) at the request of a consumer organization and a national hotelier association, who argued that TripAdvisor did not do enough to ensure that the hotel and restaurant reviews posted by users on its website were reliable. From Network World Wed. July 15th
4. OTA consolidation bad news for hotels A new report by HVS reveals that OTAs such as Priceline and Expedia have become ever-more powerful as a result of strategic acquisitions of smaller, regional players with Priceline now controlling 62% of the European market, while Expedia holds around 70% of the US market. From Alltop Hotel Blogs Sun. July 12th
5. Virtual travel concierges are a thing, says HotelTonight, Native, and maybe Facebook The shift in travel spending from bricks-and-mortar travel agencies to online travel companies has largely been about automation — taking the human part out, for cost savings. Now a few startups, including HotelTonight , Native , and (apparently) Facebook , are trying to put the human element back in, through virtual concierge, or chat-based personal assistant, services. Tue. July 14th
6. Silently Debuting Homestays, Booking.com Jabs Airbnb – Tnooz Booking.com, the online travel agency giant owned by Priceline Group, has begun listing homestays. These accommodations don’t come from Booking’s traditional vacation rental inventory. From Hotel News Resource Mon. July 13th
7. And Then the Earth Shook: Google Enters Travel Booking Skift Take: For Google, the new program means it has the potential to become even more of a central hub for the travel industry as it can offer hotel-booking functionality to its massive base of users on desktop and mobile, in search and maps. Just wait until Google integrates flights and hotels. That’s coming too. — Dennis Schaal And so it begins as travelers can now book some hotels right on Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. From Skift Travel News Mon. July 13th
8. Activities and technology – a new relationship with a long-term future In an era of constant change and innovation in travel, with new business models and companies appearing every day, there is a great contradiction in the fact that the transfers and activities sector has remained disconnected from the travel distribution ecosystem. NB: This is an analysis by Paul Anthony , managing director for transfers and activities at Hotelbeds Group. From Tnooz News Feed Wed. July 15th
9. Expedia opening offices in Hawaii at Waikiki Shopping Plaza Expedia Inc., one of the world’s largest online travel companies, is opening offices in Hawaii at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza, according to public records. From Biz Journal – Accounting News Mon. July 13th
10. Expedia launches new technology to help blind travelers book trips Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) hopes to attract more blind travelers by offering technology such as text-to-speech screen readers and Braille display enhancements on the company’s travel sites. From NY Business Journal Travel Business News Fri. July 10th


July 10th, 2015

  • Forbes looks at Priceline & Expedia’s recent Latin American investments
  • OTA lobby report preceded airline antitrust inquiry
  • Google quietly adds instant hotel booking
  • Could new technology enable a “micro-stay” market for unused rooms?
  • Chinese commercial property group Dalian Wanda invests $500M in online travel agency 
  • Harvard Business Review on the risks of changing prices too often


  Article Published
1. Why Is LATAM On The OTA Leaders’ Radars? Shortly after Expedia’s investment in Latin American online travel agency, Decolar, Priceline recently followed in tow by investing in Brazil’s Hotel Urbano. The world’s biggest OTAs seem to be suddenly focusing their attention on Latin America. In this article, we first discuss the reasons why Priceline chose Hotel Urbano to expand its LATAM presence. Next, we discuss the reasons why LATAM provides attractive growth opportunities to the leading OTAs. From Forbes Market News Thu. July 9th
2. OTA lobby report preceded US airline antitrust inquiry, House of Cards-style Last month, before a US watchdog began an antitrust investigation against some airlines, the Travel Technology Association (TTA) , a lobbying group, published a much-cited report on airline market power. The report’s nature, and its timing, may remind some people in the travel industry of the fictional drama House of Cards (in its current Washington, DC, version). From Tnooz News Feed Thu. July 2nd
3. Google quietly adds instant booking for hotels, copying TripAdvisor For the first time, Google users can book a hotel room without ever leaving the search giant’s familiar desktop interface. The addition of assisted booking to Google.com/hotels , the search giant’s metasearch tool, hasn’t been officially announced. But the Google-faciliated bookings appear to be slowly rolling out across a select handful of listings in U.S. desktop search. From Tnooz News Feed Wed. July 8th
4. As tech and apps drive growth, time to argue the case for daytime hotel stays With more than 673,000 hotel rooms available in the UK alone, is the hotel industry capitalising on all of its assets – namely the large numbers of rooms sitting idle during the day? Can daytime rentals be the solution? From Tnooz News Feed Fri. July 3rd
5. Dalian Wanda invests $560m in online travel agency Dalian Wanda Group branched out into online tourism on Friday after investing 3.5 billion yuan ($560 million) in a travel agency. From China Daily Business News Fri. July 3rd
6. The Risks of Changing Your Prices Too Often Today’s technologies allow digital businesses (as well as a growing roster of traditional companies) to change prices frequently, even minute-by-minute in real time if they want to. It is not unusual for prices to change on sites like Amazon, Expedia, and Priceline several times a day. But managers are struggling to understand these tactics. How often should companies really change their prices? From Harvard Business Review Blog Network Mon. July 6th