Red Lion Hotels is obviously a much smaller chain than a Hilton Worldwide or Marriott International. Still, Red Lion's deal to offer its member-only rates on Expedia.com and Hotels.com represents the start of some shifting in the direct-booking landscape. Expedia is a powerful force in hotel distribution and there will be more of these changes to come.
By increasing its dividend, Expedia management has put its money where its mouth is in expressing confidence about the future of the company. The takeaway: Expedia officials believe its second quarter stumble was an aberration.
Would the world's second-largest online travel agency in market cap, Ctrip, entertain the idea of entering the U.S. market to complement its sites in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore? The x's and o's are unclear but the idea isn't as far-fetched as it might seem given Chinese investment in the U.S. and the Ctrip CEO's statements about his interest in the U.S. market
Can TripAdvisor, with all its content and global reach, become another Booking.com-like success story or will TripAdvisor's prospects fade? There are plenty of possibilities within that range, too, but much depends on TripAdvisor's transition into a booking plus metasearch site. That's the $9 billion question -- and there's a wide range of opinion on the outcome.
Hipmunk's user experience in hotel search feels more convenient than on many other metasearch and booking sites but like everyone else, Hipmunk is experimenting and has plenty to learn. We have a long way to go but that's no surprise to anyone.
TripAdvisor took a beating in the second quarter, but its growing tours and activities sector is showing strength as the company tries to become all things to all travelers.
Yelp has a tremendous opportunity in local advertising but there is also intense competition. One big caution is that half of Yelp's traffic comes from Google and that makes it way too dependent on a company which isn't exactly a fan.
Expedia is scaling back the design of its new Seattle headquarters but it isn't a contradiction for it to look for new digs in London as the company seeks to jumpstart expansion in Europe. The company is being prudent, not reckless.
Priceline Group Interim CEO Jeffery Boyd is too much of a gentleman and a professional to get into a public shouting match with his hotel-chain partners. Still, behind the scenes, he doesn't intend to sit back and let hotel chains withhold their lowest rates without taking retaliatory steps.
Because of the proliferation of mobile devices and the propensity of TripAdvisor's metasearch users to meander off course after clicking off the TripAdvisor site, the company needed to do something dramatic such as Instant Booking to adapt to the future. As it plays the unglamorous "long game," the outcome of TripAdvisor's gamble won't be known until at least 2017.