After a significant investment, four major hotel companies now have a controlling interest in the booking engine Groups360. It's unclear if this sets it up for success — or failure.
It doesn’t seem to matter how often the topic is discussed. Event organizers and third-party booking platforms have been complaining about the meetings booking process for years, but it still remains slow and outdated.
Only recently has the industry begun to shift a bit, with platforms like Bizly and Meetingsbooker growing larger. Even hotels are starting to get in on the action. Four major hotel chains on August 19 gained a majority stake in meetings booking engine Groups360 with an investment of $50 million.
Not everyone is convinced that the platform stands any chance at being successful, though. For one, hotels have tried something nearly identical (ahem, Room Key) in the past, and it was a failure.
We take a deep look inside the Groups360 investment, exploring both the good and the bad. Plus Oyo has made a big-name acquisition in one of the largest markets for events: Las Vegas.
Check out these stories, and many more, below.
— Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter
The Future of Events and Meetings
Does a Hotel-Backed Meetings Booking Platform Stand a Chance? Hotels need to be willing to make more investments — and to give up some of their control — if Groups360 is going to work.
Budget Hotel Chain Oyo Continues Meteoric Growth With Vegas Hooters Acquisition: Oyo is opening, on average, one new hotel per day. It should be available in all 50 U.S. states in no time.
Airbnb Beat Expedia in Booked Room Nights: Does anyone remember when Travelocity was the leading U.S. online travel agency? We’re thinking about that because a milestone may have taken place in the first quarter when Airbnb attracted more room nights booked than did Expedia. What it does clearly show is that the online travel pecking order is very much in flux.
Why Marriott’s New Dynamic Pricing May Not Leave Bonvoy Members Joyous: Marriott’s new pricing structure will help it better control inventory during high and low seasons — but as a result, some travelers may find it harder to find deals on their favorite vacation properties.
Around the Industry
Luxury Boutique Hotels Push Further Into Former Warehouse Districts: All over the world, once-derelict areas in cities are still drawing hotels because the price is right. How long will that last?
Tourism Is Up: So Why Is New York City’s Hotel Room Revenue Slumping? With so many hotel rooms in the pipeline, a turnaround of slower revenue-per-room growth in New York City is not expected until after 2020. It’s a classic supply-and-demand problem, making it a delicate balance to get pricing power back in a city where tourism remains hot.
Spirit Airlines Will Offer Comfier Seats — For Free: Spirit Airlines is taking delivery of new aircraft, so this is an easy time for the airline to add more comfortable seats. The big question is will the airline pay to retrofit older jets to new standards? That’s an expensive proposition, but it would show the airline is paying attention to passenger desires.
Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [email@example.com] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.
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Photo credit: A meeting venue owned by Accor Hotels. Four major hotel companies now have a controlling interest in the booking engine Groups360. Skift