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What a difference a couple of years makes. No longer sister companies, Expedia doesn’t want to participate in TripAdvisor Instant Booking, and declines to do anything to help the brand that it is competing with, along with Booking.com, on TV in their competing commercials.
TripAdvisor has been trying to sign on major online travel agencies to handle direct hotel bookings within TripAdvisor’s apps and soon on desktops, but it won’t be getting any help from former parent Expedia.
“As far as TripAdvisor Instant Book, that’s a product that’s been out there for a couple of quarters now,” said Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said during the company’s second quarter earnings call July 31. “We’re not participating in the product.”
“It’s not a channel that is of interest to us,” Khosrowshahi added. “I don’t see that changing. And at this point, we don’t really see any effect on our business, as you can tell by the room night growth, etc.”
TripAdvisor wants to recruit direct booking partners to handle fulfillment and customers service behind the scenes for hotel bookings within TripAdvisor’s Hotel Shopper product, and so far has only signed on Getaroom, Choice Hotels, and Best Western.
TripAdvisor-owned Tingo, which has an affiliate relationship with Expedia, also participates, but only gets a relatively small commission from Expedia on these bookings.
Among other major U.S. online travel agencies, the Priceline Group is on record in declining to participate in TripAdvisor Instant Booking; Travelocity North America is basically an offshoot of Expedia these days and isn’t taking part, and Orbitz Worldwide isn’t involved and declines to comment on the issue.
Khosrowshahi is steadfast about Expedia boycotting TripAdvisor’s direct booking initiative, which it needs to increase conversions of lookers into bookers, and for monetization.
“But as it relates to our brands, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc., we don’t see those brands participating in TripAdvisor, in TripAdvisor Instant Book,” Khosrowshahi said. “We just don’t see the value there, the strategic value. And so at this point, I wouldn’t expect to see those brands show up within that product.”