Metasearch sites such as Kayak, Hipmunk, Trivago, TripAdvisor and Tripping have a lot of heavy lifting to do because consumers will increasingly be demanding better ways to comparison-shop for alternative accommodations that are often unique and difficult to define. All things being equal -- and they aren't -- that's a big market opportunity for these sites.
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.
Like many successful companies, Hostelworld resolves to win by maintaining its focus on what it does best: Selling hostels. Its big challenge is to generate more awareness about the modern and socially oriented hostel while larger players like Airbnb and Booking.com suck the air out of Google.
Buying TripAdvisor would be a very large -- albeit relatively cheap -- acquisition given its current stock price. One very significant impediment, especially for Priceline, is the fact that Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings, which has historic ties to Barry Diller's Expedia, controls TripAdvisor. Still, for the right price, Liberty would have to consider a sale of its prized asset as TripAdvisor goes through a very challenging and prolonged transition.
Brett Keller, Priceline.com's new interim CEO, knows his way around headquarters, having worked there for 17 years. He takes over at a critical time for the Priceline.com brand, although Booking.com is by far the Priceline Group's most important cog.
Booking.com rode the agency model, which is attractive for its lack of complexity in forging online travel agency-hotel relationships and consumer-friendliness, into the growth engine of a $68 billion business. Its executives did so by ignoring the trendiness of the crowds and sticking to their own beliefs and vision.
European tax authorities, in this case from France and Italy, continue to go after online travel agencies like Booking.com for back taxes. Booking.com is such a large company that a $400 million bill, if it actually must be paid, won't cause the company to sweat excessively.
We're not giving away all the good stuff. You still need to read the entire thing.
Two decades after the birth of online travel, more than two dozen founders and key players exclusively tell Skift how it all happened. This is a story of a history that changed the future of travel forever. Dig in, this will take a while.
TripAdvisor's new booking product leans heavily on Priceline's Booking.com — more so than TripAdvisor would probably like.