From the monthly archives: "July 2015"
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    Google testing instant booking

    Google has followed TripAdvisor with an instant booking feature on its hotel search function.   The move, which is in partnership with Sabre, sees hotels offered a commission-based model on confirmed bookings only.   Sabre confirmed that it was launching a beta test of a new hotel digital marketing programme from Google designed to help [...]
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    OTAs in ‘head-to-head battle’ with hotels

    The rising number of online travel agents offering loyalty schemes is taking them into ‘head-to-head battle’ with hotel operators, according to a study from HVS.   The report found that, with the OTA market dominated by The Priceline Group and Expedia Inc., the options for negotiation on commissions were dwindling, with hotels encouraged to push [...]
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    Louvre, Magnuson’s distribution deal

    Louvre Hotels Group has signed a distribution agreement with Magnuson Hotels Worldwide which will create a network of close to 4,000 hotels.   The pair then plan to launch a loyalty programme towards the end of the year.   The deal will see Louvre Hotels Group enter the US market, where Magnuson Hotels Worldwide has [...]
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    China OTAs move into M&A phase

    eLong has appointed former Ctrip vice president Jiang Hao to the role of CEO, replacing Guangfu Cui, who will continue to consult for the group.   Last month saw Ctrip take a stake in eLong and this latest move has provoked speculation of a potential merger between the two leaders in China’s online travel agent [...]
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    Airbnb faces rethink in SF

    Regulators in San Francisco have voted to limit the use of websites such as Airbnb, over concerns about the rental market. The changes tightened the holiday rental laws introduced in the city last October, which effectively legalised home sharing. The amendments introduced by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell would impose a [...]
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    ‘Clouds on the horizon’ for OTAs

    The number of travellers in the US using an online travel agent to book has fallen from 36% to 13% within a year, according to a study by MMGY Global. The company reported that consumers “increasingly” felt that the suppliers gave them the best price, indicating that brand.com strategies such as best rate guarantees were [...]
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    Expedia joins Booking on rate parity

    Expedia has announced plans to waive its rate parity clauses for five years after working “closely and constructively” with the European Commission. The news came the week after Booking.com announced similar measures in an attempt to bring the matter to a close in Europe. From the beginning of August, Expedia will waive its rate, conditions [...]
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    Priceline makes Brazil move

    The Priceline Group has made a USD60m investment in Brazilian online travel agency Hotel Urbano. The deal came a few months after Expedia paid USD270m for a stake in Hotel Urbano rival Decolar. Priceline described the deal, in which it takes a minority stake, as a “strategic partnership” consisting of a commercial agreement in addition [...]
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    Wanda invests in OTA

    Wanda Group, part of the conglomerate which includes China’s largest commercial property company, has announced a USD577m investment in local online travel agency LY.com. The Chinese OTA said it would use the money to drive expansion into areas such as mobile and Big Data to “consolidate our lead in the leisure and tourism industry”. Established [...]
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    Choice sues over loyalty scam

    Choice Hotels International has filed a lawsuit against a member of its loyalty programme, who it says took advantage of a loophole which saw points awarded even when a booking was cancelled. Robert Chat was alleged to have accrued USD48,500 in rewards points programme gift cards. The lawsuit said that points were “offered as a [...]