Digital Booking Sites

Priceline Acquires Buuteeq and Gets Deeper Into Being Hotel-Tech Provider

@denschaal

Jun 10, 2014 4:25 pm

Skift Take

The acquisition appears to highlight an effort by the Priceline Group to deepen its involvement with its hotel partners by providing digital marketing services above and beyond selling their rooms online.

— Dennis Schaal

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The Priceline Group, which is the largest accommodation provider in the world, announced it acquired Buuteeq, a digital marketing platform for hotels, and in so doing the Priceline Group gets deeper into its burgeoning role as a hotel-tech provider.

“We are delighted to welcome Buuteeq as the newest member of The Priceline Group,” said Darren Huston, Priceline Group CEO. “Buuteeq has built an innovative, cloud-based marketing platform that we see playing a key role in helping us deliver even more value to our global accommodations partners worldwide.”

The Buuteeq team of around 200 employees joins the Priceline Group’s Booking.com unit, and will be able to market its services to independent hotels in Europe and Asia Pacific.

With the acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed, Booking.com can go into sales calls with hotels, and inform hoteliers that it can bring them online and provide data analytics services in addition to selling the properties’ hotel rooms.

As one insider, who declined to be identified, put it: “They can now tell hotels we can put you online and meet your demand needs, too.”

Priceline Group spokesperson Leslie Cafferty says the Buuteeq brand will remain and the business will continue to be able to operate independently as do others within the Priceline Group.

The Priceline Group already offers hoteliers that may have websites but no booking capabilities a booking button, enabling hotels’ customers to complete their reservations on  Booking.com, and adding Buuteeq’s services to the mix will round out the portfolio.

At the risk of becoming too dependent on Booking.com, some smaller properties can now bypass the expense of developing their own central reservations system, and use Booking.com’s and Buuteeq’s services instead.

“We are thrilled to join one of the world’s leading Internet companies,” said Forest Key, co-founder and CEO of Buuteeq. “As the global leader in online accommodations, The Priceline Group houses the vision, strategy and expertise to guide our mission to deliver a transformative digital marketing solution to hotel owners, hotel brands, and management teams.”

Founded in 2010, Seattle-based Buuteeq helps hoteliers manage their online presence, designs hotel websites and provides analytics to maximize revenue. The company had raised some $17 million in venture funding from Concur Technologies and Madrona Venture Group, among others. Buuteeq will remain headquartered in Seattle, although it will fall within Amsterdam-based Booking.com.

The acquisition highlights an effort by the Priceline Group to deepen its involvement with its hotel partners by providing digital marketing services above and beyond selling their rooms online.

The Priceline Group’s acquisition of Buuteeq puts a Buuteeq competitor, GuestCentric, into play if an Expedia or Google, for example, seeks to answer the Priceline Group’s move.

The acquisition also presents a challenge to companies such as TravelClick, Pegasus Solutions and Sabre Hospitality, which offer some services similar to Buuteeq’s.

The terms of the Buuteeq acquisition were not disclosed, but one source familiar with its financial position argued that this wasn’t the case of a failed startup seeking a soft landing for investors.

Buuteeq had options and didn’t need the transaction at this point, the source said.

Disclosure: Buuteeq has been a long-time sponsor of Skift and we’re very happy for them.

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