Travel

Online Travel Update: Google Shutters “Book on Google” feature; Booking Holdings Earnings Release Reveals Insight into Profit Margin Strategy; and Amadeus brush off concerns over airline direct connectivity push | Foster GarveyPC

Online Travel Update: Google Shutters "Book on Google" feature;  Booking Holdings Earnings Release Reveals Insight into Profit Margin Strategy;  and Amadeus brush off concerns over airline direct connectivity push |  Foster GarveyPC

This week’s update includes two in-depth stories about Booking Holdings’ recent earnings release and a surprise story about Google’s hotel booking platform. Enjoy.

Google Shutters Book on Google
(“Book on Google for hotels to close after low footfall”, February 25, 2022 via Phocus Wire)
Citing low usage by vendors and users, last week Google announced it was shutting down its Reserve on Google feature on May 25. The facilitated meta-search platform (my expression) allowed users to start the reservation process on Google (reservations and payment details) and then finalize the reservation on the supplier’s website (hotelier or OTA). The announced changes should have no effect on Google’s hotel search products, including the free booking links introduced last year.

Takeaways from the Booking Holdings earnings release
(“Booking Holdings appears to be moving away from Airbnb on profit margins”, February 24, 2022 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
While much of last week’s news about Booking Holdings’ fourth quarter earnings release focused on improving Booking’s financial metrics, I was particularly interested in Skift’s story detailing plans to Booking to improve its profit margins (especially against its competing rental platform, Airbnb). According to Booking CEO Glenn Fogel and CFO David Goulden, achieving the desired profit margins will depend in large part on the success of Bookings in pursuing its highly publicized “connected travel” strategy. The strategy includes several elements, including expanding Booking’s verticals (airline and business), improving customer loyalty, and simplifying payments (note that using Booking’s leased payment platform .com remained relatively stable during the fourth quarter), among others. Interestingly, Booking also suggested that it was able to convince its partners (including hoteliers) to provide substantial discounts and other benefits to drive additional bookings. I’ll be eager to see how suppliers respond to this continued effort, particularly with respect to the adoption of Booking.com’s payment platform, use of the planned wholesale distribution platform (via Priceline) and now, the answer to these so-called “discounts and benefits”. .”

Should global distribution systems be worried about the push for direct airline connectivity?
(“Amadeus Waves Off Concerns About Airlines’ Direct Distribution Push”, February 25, 2022 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Amadeus says no. Will this change as airlines continue to explore and adopt new forms of connectivity, such as new distribution capabilities (NDCs)? Amadeus still says no. Compared to fellow competitors GDS, Saber and Travelport, both of which seem to lag behind in the development and distribution of new airline-focused technologies, Amadeus may be right.


Other news:

Wego’s acquisition of Cleartrip Middle East would create an online travel group
February 23, 2022 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
Wego, headquartered in Singapore, has traditionally been a regional metasearch business, where travelers search for trips and book them elsewhere, but the ongoing acquisition announced this week of Cleartrip’s Middle East business from the Indian giant Flipkart Group e-commerce would create a more diverse online journey. group.

Bookings still well below pre-pandemic levels: new traveler health index
February 23, 2022 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
The travel industry at its peak has a healthy balance between demand and supply, with travel players looking to strike that balance between the prices of airplane seats, hotel rooms, or any other travel product. , and the number of incoming reservations. Data from our improved Skift Traveler Health Index (formerly Skift Recovery Index) shows that the industry is far from this balance as it continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tripadvisor Plus is a case study in the hype of online travel
February 23, 2022 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
Just over a year ago, Tripadvisor co-founder and CEO Steve Kaufer touted the company’s Tripadvisor Plus subscription program for discounted hotel rooms — and since nearly wiped out – like a potentially billion-dollar business.