Friday Five: Airbnb, Google and the Evolution of Travel
It’s been a big week. Airbnb made a move that places it more directly in the path of hotels, Google underwent a shift that could cut into OTA profits, and Expedia was approved to merge with Orbitz. The world of travel, especially online, has had major pieces of its landscape redrawn in the last seven days.
In light of these changes, we’re giving you a condensed look at how those changes will affect your hotel, and what you can do about it. Check it out:
Airbnb’s new business travel initiative is putting it directly in competition for hotels, where previously they were creating a new market and only skirting around the fringe of the more traditional travel market. This piece makes the argument that hotels should use the opportunity to learn from the powerful appeal Airbnb holds for Millennials, and take it as a chance to grow.
Expedia, the world’s largest OTA by bookings, has won the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division over and will be allowed to buy Orbitz in a deal worth $1.3 billion.
The determined that the deal was not harmful to competition on the grounds that Expedia has a major rival in the form of Priceline, and both are facing increased competition from the likes of Google’s updated hotel booking system, airlines and hotels pushing for customers to book directly on their website.
Focussing on Airbnb’s recent acquisition of trip-planning service Vamo as another indicator of the meteoric rise of the company, this article tracks hoteliers reactions (from legal action to adaptation) and gives us 5 lessons Airbnb can bring to hotels.
Google has gotten rid of its Hotel Finder in favour of showing offerings from hotels and OTAs directly in Google search. The advantage to hotels is displaying their direct booking offerings right beside OTAs – they just need to be smart about what those offerings are. Additionally, Google is changing the business model of its Hotel Ads program to let independent hotels participate in Google search by paying fixed commissions, rather than what might be a pricier, riskier CPC model. Altogether, Google has decided the time is right to scale up their hotel search and booking business in a big way, and it looks to be good news for hotels.
Ad blocking has been around for a long time, but digital advertisers and publishers are seeing it as an increasing problem. Research suggests that a solid majority of internet users ages 18 to 34 are now blocking ads when they view digital content. For hotels, this means a greater focus on retargeting and social media ads—the ads that performed best with millennials—might be in order, along with making sure their organic reach is as large and targeted as possible.