Skift Take

Today's podcast examines changes to the Google Hotels platform, several travel tech acquisitions, and stronger pricing power for Premier Inn.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, October 19. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Google is constantly tweaking its hotels platform, and the latest iteration contributes directly to the democratization of the online travel industry, writes Skift Research analyst Pranavi Agarwal.

Skift Research conducted a study of Google Hotels platform. Here are three insights from the analysis: paid sponsored listings are dominated by the largest online travel agencies; the introduction of organic results is allowing direct sites and smaller online travel agencies to compete head-on with Booking and Expedia; and Google Hotels prioritizes the direct site in its organic results, with the official site most likely to appear on top, even when it is not the cheapest option. 

Next, there have been at least four travel tech acquisitions this month, writes travel tech reporter Justin Dawes. 

One of them was by property management system startup Mews, which acquired a small hotel AI startup called Nomi, whose tech is meant to help hotels deliver personalized recommendations based on data that guests provide. If the hotel can keep a profile on customers, then the hotel will have better information they can use to recommend activities and restaurants. And that data sets the groundwork for the useful implementation of future generative AI concierge tools. 

Finally, Premier Inn’s owner, Whitbread, said a shrinking supply of budget hotels in the UK will strengthen its pricing power for years to come, writes Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neil.

Premier Inn, the UK’s leading budget hotel chain, said the country’s independent budget hotel sector shrunk 10% between 2019 and 2022, with many not expected to reopen. This supply shortage is predicted to last for at least five years, presenting a growth opportunity for Premier Inn. Because of the company’s size, it can more easily obtain favorable loans and discounted supplies. Premier Inn also said that repeat guests made 86% of its bookings this year.

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Tags: google, mews, premier inn, skift podcast

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