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    Google makes itself hotel-friendly

    Google has launched Hotel Ads, a format designed specifically for hotel searches which it says will drive conversions. The changes follow a study from Evercore last September which reported that the search engine would level the search playing field in travel “like we have never seen before”. Hotel Ads are available across Google Search, Google [...]
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    Best rate guarantees ‘unenforceable’

    Best rate guarantees are ‘unenforceable’ and potentially in breach of competition law, a seminar in London was told earlier this month. The comments came after a series of rulings in Europe which are putting rate parity clauses under threat. At a seminar organised by ETOA, the European Tourism Association, Neil Baylis, competition partner, K&L Gates [...]

    Ctrip’s fast track to growth

    Ctrip said that it would continue to invest in rapid expansion as it sought to dominate the online travel market in China. The company said that this year it would see it take on competitors in the lower end of the market. In 2012 the group set a target of growing its total transaction value [...]
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    TripAdvisor takes service credit

    Hospitality businesses are responding to TripAdvisor reviews and have made changes as a result of comments, according to a new study from the company. The study also found that 82% of respondents felt that online review sites such as TripAdvisor have had a positive impact on the hospitality industry and service standards. “Reviews have become [...]
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    Filling the virtual wallet

    Travelclick has extended its partnership with Google to enable mobile web bookings using Google Wallet for Google Hotel Ads customers. The move came shortly after the launch of Apple Pay, which has so far seen only limited take-up, potentially calling into question the potential of virtual wallets. At Travelclick, the expansion of “one-click” mobile bookings [...]

    Hotels losing trademark bidding

    Hotels are continuing to lose out to intermediaries bidding on their trademarks, according to a report from Brand Verity. The study found that the recent M&A activity from the online travel agencies was likely to have an impact on the search landscape. The report looked at a number of different industries. It found that, in [...]

    Starwood’s Uber deal

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Uber to offer members of its SPG rewards programme the chance to earn points when they use the taxi service. The move is the latest in an escalating battle by the global hotel operators to drive loyalty with an ever-widening array of ways to earn and spend points. [...]

    HomeAway welcomes Airbnb IPO

    HomeAway’s CEO welcomed rumours of an IPO for sharing economy rival Airbnb, pointing to the lack of scrutiny that the company underwent in the private sector. Brian Sharples described Airbnb operating “where it’s illegal to operate” and said that HomeAway would continue to differentiate itself from its competition. Speaking at the Piper Jaffray Technology, Media [...]
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    Hold firm on price, hotels told

    Hotels benefit from having a consistent pricing strategy, not a reactive one, according to a study by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research. The report said that hotels needed to couple pricing strategies with creating distinct products to attract guests, seemingly supporting the recent growth in the number of brands in the sector. The report [...]
    HotelSwaps Algodon Mansion Buenos Aires

    Relais & Châteaux joins swap shop

    Relais & Châteaux has become the latest hotel group to join HotelSwaps, the room exchange programme. HotelSwaps, which describes itself as the hotel industry’s answer to the sharing economy, allows hotel owners and managers to swap their empty rooms for free stays at other hotel members around the world. HotelSwaps estimated that each year, over [...]
    Vivek Badrinath

    Accor moots third-party distribution

    The global hotel operators told delegates at this year’s International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin that they would use online travel agents to acquire new guests, but would fight to retain them direct. At Accor, the company said it was willing to consider adding unbranded hotels to its system, to bolster its portfolio and keep [...]

    Priceline bolsters war chest

    The Priceline Group has announced plans to raise a war chest of USD1.3bn, as it looks to continue to dominate the online travel market ahead of rival Expedia Inc. In the wake of Expedia’s recent announcement of its intent to purchase Orbitz Worldwide, speculation has linked a number of possible major companies to a bid [...]

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