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Priceline.com - Asset light + cashflow stark (Seite 9)

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Booking.com has finally moved into the complex world of tours and activities with the pilot of a new service on its mobile app.

Until now, the Priceline Group-operated hotel giant has worked with the likes of GetYouGuide to supply booked hotel guests with an email shot listing things to do in a destination (with links off to a co-branded page to make a booking).

But this week the company has given details of a pilot project in its hometown of Amsterdam to make a concerted effort to start providing search and booking of tours, activities and attractions.

Inevitably, Booking.com has used the 2016 trend-of-the-moment to test the initiative – a mobile-based, artificial intelligence platform that sits within its Android or iOS applications.

Booking Experiences, at least in terms of the pilot project, works in a different to traditional marketplaces for tours and activities.

Booking.com and Expedia take four out of five agency bookings in Europe
Jul 27.2016

More evidence of a so-called duopoly coming into play as Expedia and Booking.com land 80% of all European hotel sales on online travel agencies.

European hospitality association HOTREC estimates the pair have increased their dominance of the marketplace as the third semi-major player on the continent, HRS, has “lost ground significantly” in recent years.

Still, the trio accounted for 92% of all OTA bookings in 2015, HOTREC says.

The organisation says the OTA sector covers around 200,000 properties in Europe, with around three-quarters being small, independently owned, so having two major players shows “there is no need for further explanation on who is in the driving seat”.

Some 2,000 of HOTREC’s members took part in a recent study, with a key finding showing that almost one in four of their collective room being are generated through OTAs during 2015.

Priceline Group-owned Booking.com took 60% of the market.

HOTREC says its hotel members have not experienced any increased competition between OTAs, despite such a trend expected to emerge as the marketplace moved to apparent “narrow parity clauses” following high-profile regulatory changes in various countries.

In addition, there has not been any significant movement (such as a decrease) in commission levels paid by hotels to OTAs.

Overall, HOTREC found, direct bookings fell to a 55% share of all room night sales during 2015.
Chair of the organisation’s distribution task force, Markus Luthe, says:

“It is crucial that despite the huge imbalance between the various players the market conditions become more fair and balanced, with the freedom of each and every single hotelier to be able to set their own conditions for their own services freely and be able to fairly negotiate on contract terms and conditions with every distribution partner.”

CEO Christian de Barrin says the OTA market is moving towards a “duopolistic one in Europe”, with him even suggesting an overall monopoly by Booking.com given its almost two-thirds market share.
Regarding commission levels, just 8.5% of hoteliers reported a reduction in commission levels in the last 12 months.

The report adds:
“Among the few ones having received any reduction, big and chain hotels were significantly overrepresented, compared to the small and individual hotels.”

=> booking.com ist der 800-Pfund Gorilla...

Priceline Group Interim CEO Jeffery Boyd wanted to appear reasonable and measured so in discussing the hotels chains’ efforts to push direct bookings on their own websites, he declined to get into a tit for tat discussion.

“I wouldn’t express it as if they do this then we’ll do that,” Boyd said during the company’s second quarter earnings call August 4. “This is a partnership.” He characterized the chains’ activities as an “evolution” of goals they’ve had for a long time.

Still, Boyd said, “it’s a reasonable ask” for “the largest player in the space” to expect to get the chains’ most-competitive rates because that’s what Priceline’s customers’ expect. Priceline now offers more than 1 million properties, a 30 percent increase over the second quarter of 2015, and this includes some 493,000 vacation rentals and apartments, he said.

Boyd said the Group will continue to “press” the chains for their lowest rates and noted that Priceline is equipped to advertise substantial discounts, too.

“It might not be a good idea” for the chains to push those discounted rates, Boyd said.

In other words, if the hotel chains continue to offer discounted rates to their loyalty program members when booking directly on the chains’ own websites, then Priceline can do some discounting of its own as a counter-measure.

“We think it is a good idea regardless of the market cycle” or occupancy rates for the chains to participate in Priceline Group sites such as Booking.com and Priceline.com with their most-competitive rates if they want to maintain average daily rates and revenue per available room numbers, he said.

When occupancy drops or when the hotel chains are trying to put heads in beds in far-flung geographies and in diverse languages then Priceline Group sites are effective marketers for them, Boyd pointed out.

Expedia Claimed Direct-Booking Has Improved Margins

None of the analysts during the Priceline Group’s second quarter earnings call asked what impact the hotel chains’ direct-booking campaigns have had on the company’s business.

But during Expedia’s earnings announcement last week, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi argued it hasn’t had an adverse impact. In fact, Khosrowshahi said hotels chains have lost market share on Expedia and have been replaced in some cases by independent properties.

Since smaller, independent hotels generally pay Expedia higher commissions than the chains do, the overall impact has been positive for margins, Khosrowshahi said.

If the Expedia CEO is trying to characterize the chains’ efforts in the most positive way that he can, then it still doesn’t seem to be an attractive and sustainable development for Expedia’s customers if they lose the option of booking chains that are household names, particularly in the U.S.

An Earnings Beat

In contrast to Expedia and TripAdvisor, which saw their share prices drop after releasing second quarter earnings and missing analysts’ expectations over the last week, Priceline’s shares were up 5.5 percent in after-hours trading August 4 after beating consensus estimates on earnings per share ($13.93 versus $12.67) and just missing on revenue ($2.56 billion versus $2.59 billion).

Although there has been abundant concern over the past couple of weeks from airlines, hotels and corporations reporting earnings about the prospect for dampening corporate travel demand in Europe, Priceline officials said they saw reduced demand in countries such as France, Belgium and Turkey but overall in Europe they are not seeing “a major pullback.”

Take That Airbnb and HomeAway

With its accommodations’ numbers now eclipsing 1 million properties, including 493,000 vacation rentals and apartments, Booking.com in particular is now one of the largest platforms for alternative accommodations, particularly for those that are bookable online, Boyd said.

Booking.com has a variety of filters for customers to use in searching for accommodations and the priority is to show them the kind of property they are looking for, he said.

Boyd said HomeAway’s customers and vacation rental owners “are chafing a little bit” about the introduction of booking fees for travelers — a move that the Booking.com doesn’t intend to parrot.

Boyd said “we like” our vacation rental model, adding Booking.com customers are used to the no-fee structure. Just as hotel customers learned over the years to comparison shop, he feels vacation rental customers will eventually do likewise.

“It’s probably the case that they will be shopping around for vacation rentals and I’m hoping we will be able to provide the best value,” Boyd said.

But don’t expect the Priceline Group to push the envelope on alternative accommodations in markets where regulators clamp down, he said.

Boyd added: “We are a law-abiding company and we are not trying to disrupt the legal system.”

CEO Search Continues

The Priceline Group search for a permanent CEO continues following the ouster of Darren Huston from the slot in late April. Boyd said a board committee and a recruiting firm are working on finding a replacement “and they are right in the middle of it.”
Antwort auf Beitrag Nr.: 51.768.274 von R-BgO am 17.02.16 15:17:37
habe meinem Erinnerungsstück heute
einen Kollegen beigestellt;

je länger ich mir die Bude ansehe, desto stärker kommen sie mir vor...
War games: Hotels may have more to lose than OTAs in booking fight
Sep 26.2016


In any form of combat, there are victors and losers. In the battle over hotel rate parity, however, there are a number of constituencies with stakes in the fight.

NB: This is a guest viewpoint by Robert Cole of RockCheetah, a consultancy.

Because the hotel industry is highly fragmented, with hotel owners and brands each employing differing business models, each party may be impacted differently by changes in pricing strategy, distribution policy, or marketing efforts.

Compensation to online travel agencies (OTAs) is typically paid at the property level and is not reflected on brand profit-and-loss statements.

On the other hand, a brand advertising campaign may be borne entirely by the brand, with the hotels benefiting from any resulting bookings.

Game theory

Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, recently analyzed the potential impact of the hotel/OTA battle. Given its interest in tracking securities, the investment bank evaluated three actors: hotel owners (Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs), hotel brands, and OTAs.

The assessment for hotel owners was that, against standard-hotel-brands-win versus OTAs-win scenarios, it was unlikely the hotel owners would be significantly impacted—only seeing a small (i.e., ± 3%) valuation swing.

Hotel brand valuations had more at stake, varying ± 16%, depending if they won or lost.

The group with the most to gain or lose were the OTAs. There was one interesting nuance, though.

Their potential upside of 27% exceeded their forecast downside of 23%.

With more to gain, yet much to lose, from a shareholder value perspective, OTAs could expect considerable pressure to win the battle — perhaps with more intensity than that experienced by the hotel brands.

A third, more challenging scenario was also modeled, namely, a rate war. Hotel brands and especially hotel owners would want to avoid this becoming a reality, with each potentially losing approximately 30% of their share value, while OTAs would only lose 13%.

Gazing into the crystal ball

The reality is that nobody—Wall Street equity analysts, executive leadership of hotel brands, REITs and OTAs, or pundits—can accurately predict the outcome of the hotel rate parity wars.

There is no historic precedent to reference and too many soft variables to reliably predict an outcome with any certainty. Again: As of this writing, Morgan Stanley weights the outcomes of all three scenarios equally, indicating that the result could tip any way.

However, based on the researchers’s analysis, the stakes are clear. In a straight hotel brand-OTA win/loss comparison, the stakes are higher for the OTAs than for the hotel brands and owners.

However, where the positive/negative swing for brands and owners is equal, for the OTAs the upside gained from success exceeds the downside from a loss. This factor alone would indicate that OTAs would want to allocate more resources to the battle to ensure victory.

The ultimate litmus test may be the third, price war scenario, where hotel brands and owners are exposed to significant losses at a factor 2+ times greater than valuation losses sustained by the OTAs.

This combination of forecasts could hint that OTAs would not only be more highly motivated to earn a win, but would also be more willing to engage in a price war to achieve that ultimate outcome.

Regardless of the ultimate result, the process to gain a new form of equilibrium could get messy. It is also highly probable that under any outcome, the value chain economics for all the parties involved will be forever changed.
Booking.com scraps standalone Booking Now late hotel app
Sep 26.2016

Booking.com has axed its Booking Now mobile app after 20 months in service, although it says last-minute hotels bookings are continuing to grow.

The Priceline Group-owned hotel booking giant launched the Booking Now app to a fair degree of fanfare in January 2015 (“the first truly global app for spontaneous bookers“, with it being positioned as a way to serve guests who are looking for hotel stays within 48 hours or less.

It was also the evolution of a series of launches across the group, beginning in September 2011 with the release of a Tonight-Only service on the Priceline app and then Booking.com Tonight in April 2012.

Booking.com’s enthusiasm for providing a standalone service to cater for last-minute bookings also came against the backdrop of it and other online travel agencies observing what was then a meteoric rise in popularity (or, at very least, industry attention) in same-day hotel apps such as HotelTonight, HOT Hotels, et al.

Now, Booking.com says despite last-minute demand still being on the rise, such requirements are “best met through our regular Booking.com app”.

Booking Now is no longer available in the app store and will not be promoted or supported as a service. Late bookings will still be available on the existing Booking.com mobile app for Android and Apple devices.

An official adds:

“We’re constantly monitoring, changing, and evolving along with our customers’ behaviour across our website and apps. Testing and learning is core to everything we do.

“We introduced Booking Now as a dedicated last-minute booking app that connects people with the nearest stay that meets their personal criteria, at a great price.”

Booking Now was clearly not the HotelTonight killer that Wired predicted back in 2015.
Antwort auf Beitrag Nr.: 53.363.811 von R-BgO am 28.09.16 10:19:15
bei HotelTonight scheint aber auch nicht alles rund zu laufen:
Booking.com in Reversal as it Launches Loyalty Program for Business Travelers

A half a year ago, Priceline Group CFO Daniel Finnegan was telling investors at a retail tech conference that loyalty programs can be a source of consumer frustration and costly so the company would rather focus on improving the user experience.

“I feel our performance has been strong without being beholden to loyalty programs,” Finnegan said in March.

But a lot has changed since then. Finnegan’s boss at the time, Darren Huston, left the company a month later, Booking.com’s then chief operating officer Gillian Tans got bumped up to become the Booking.com CEO, and the Group’s dominant unit debuted Booking.com for Business to service unmanaged business travelers (travelers whose companies don’t have a formal travel policy).

And now, despite Finnegan’s earlier pooh-poohing of loyalty programs, Booking.com has debuted Booking.com Travel Rewards for business travelers, offering 10 percent discounts on select hotels and other perks, and has been ramping up enrollment since the Summer.

When you book a hotel on Booking.com, the site asks whether the prospective booking is for leisure or business travel, and if you select the latter and go ahead with the booking, an invitation for a free upgrade to Booking.com for Business arrives by email.

Five bookings bring access to “exclusive discounts and travel perks for future trips,” the rewards program states.


Booking.com Travel Rewards members who achieve at least five bookings earn the “Genius” label, and get access to the program’s separate customer service phone line. Other perks include “late checkout priority exclusively” for Geniuses, and, at select properties, freebies such as welcome drinks and free airport shuttles.

Priceline Group officials have said in the past they thought perhaps 20 percent of the hotel reservations on Booking.com came from business travelers but they only started querying consumers on the purpose of their trips, whether they are for leisure or business travel, in the last year or so.

“On the corporate travel opportunity, we always suspected that we had a substantial number of business users that were using our product, but we didn’t until more recently have data on it, which is where that one in five number comes from,” Priceline Group Jeffery Boyd said during the company’s second quarter earnings call August 5. “And that intuition gave us reason to look at the market more aggressively and try to build some functionality that would be targeted directly at corporate travelers.”

That functionality now includes a loyalty for business travelers who sign up for Booking.com for Business.

Despite Finnegan’s earlier dismissals of loyalty programs as a competitive advantage, the Group’s Agoda unit and OpenTable businesses have loyalty programs, but the vast majority of the Group’s profits come from Booking.com, which didn’t have a loyalty program until the advent of Booking.com Travel Rewards this summer.

Boyd definitely sees an opportunity in corporate travel for the Group.

“In the United States, the average hotel has 30 percent business traveler, 30 percent leisure traveler and 30 percent large groups for big hotels, so that gives you sort of a breakdown at least in the U.S. market as to what the market kind of looks like,” he said in August. “But we think there’s a great opportunity to build awareness among business travelers that Booking.com in particular is a great place to go and for business owners to use the tools that we’re building which we think will help us build share there.”

Whether a loyalty program will turn out to be advantageous remains to be seen and can be adjusted as the situation merits. The real question is whether Booking.com, like Expedia’s Egencia, will take the next step into managed travel by acquisition or otherwise.

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