Travel News Round-Up: January 22-February 16, 2016
Welcome to our travel news round-up through February 16, with our summary of important headlines, must-read articles, and key developments in the travel industry. With this edition, we introduce a new format to include our reflections on articles in the travel trade press, as well as a new twice-monthly frequency. Please tell us what you think about the new format!
Disruption–Airbnb Marches On: Airbnb continues to be a hot topic of conversation, as hotels continue to adapt to the lodging site’s growing prowess. Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen important signs that Airbnb continues to expand its reach while two major hotel chains made announcements in reaction. Gone are the days when Airbnb was simply a place for wandering millennials to find couch-surfing options, leading some analysts to assert (correctly) that the term “sharing economy” is a misnomer when applied to the company.
- Airbnb Targeting Business Travelers–With the recent launch of its Business Travel Ready program and success in attracting guests during big events, Airbnb is becoming an important player in the business travel and meeting markets. Read more: How Airbnb is Quietly Positioning Itself to Disrupt the Meetings Industry
- Wyndham Turns Down Airbnb–Wyndham Vacation Rentals announced they won’t be providing their timeshare inventory to Airbnb, opting to stick with existing partners Booking.com and HomeAway. Read more: Why Wyndham Is Sticking With HomeAway to Move Vacation Rentals
- Choice Mimics Airbnb–Choice Hotels’ CEO recently announced it will start offering third-party vacation rentals on its website and might eventually offer an Airbnb-like alternative accommodation option as well. Read more: Sharing Economy Might Be in Choice’s Future
Distribution–Instant Booking, Bidding and Direct Bookings: 2016 is shaping up to be an interesting year in travel distribution, as OTAs consolidate, the distribution landscape fragments and hotels struggle to control the distribution of their products. TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking has been a topic of conversation while Expedia announced a new bidding system for hotels and Hilton launched a campaign to get direct bookings.
- Instant Booking a Long-Term Play–In a recent interview, TripAdvisor’s CEO maintained that Instant Booking will be a critical strategic driver for travel’s largest website even though it has suppressed revenue in the short term. Read more: TripAdvisor CEO Asks Investors to Wait a Year or Two for Instant Booking Improvements
- Too Much Bearishness about Instant Booking–In one of the best analyses published to date about Instant Booking, Piper Jaffray concludes that bearish forecasts for the travel giant’s new program are overblown and based on a misunderstanding of how Instant Booking works. Read more: Instant Booking Is A Long Term Play for TripAdvisor–But Hits Financial Performance
- Expedia Introduces Bidding for Listings–Expedia announced a potentially earth-shattering new bidding system for hotel listings on its website. Hotels will now be able to bid for higher placement on Expedia search result pages. Read more: Expedia Overturns Hotel Business Model with Introduction of Bidding for Listings
- Hilton Pursues Direct Bookings–The hotel company’s “Stop Clicking Around” campaign is designed to drive more business to its lowest-cost booking channel, its own websites. Read More: Hilton Campaigns to Brink Clicks Direct