There Is Too Much Hype On New Online Disruptive Travel

Skift Take

Old entrants like Google and hotel brands are likely to be more disruptive in the future of online travel agencies than Chase, Uber, and Travel + Leisure.

Dennis Schaal

Online Travel This Week

“OTAs will still play a role.”

This sentence is derived from a AllianceBernstein research notes this week about “OTAS: In Flux.”

Many should agree with the research note. Online travel agencies are really changing. As the note points out, Expedia is trying to get more of the business-to-business side of its portfolio, and Airbnb is fine-tuning how travelers search for properties, although there are many complaints from hosts about the awkwardness of Airbnb’s efforts.

But to say that online travel agencies will still have a role to play due to business changes and the rise of new entrants is almost ridiculous. When I started writing about global distribution systems in 2000, I was repeatedly warned that their days were numbered. Like online travel agencies, there are still global distribution systems and essential to the travel industry behind the scenes.

Large online travel agencies may lose share in the coming years, but they will continue to have a strong position in the online travel market.

AllianceBernstein’s research note argued that investors in online travel agencies should worry about “new entrants.” In that context, it mentions the changes already Google made organic search providing free links to increase paid for Google Travel advertisers “brought a lot of new OTAs to market.”

The research note also mentioned the potential admission of Hopper, Travel+Leisure, chase at Uber.

“Not all of these players are trying to take the whole funnel, and OTAs will still have a role to play, but they risk shortening their funnel,” the full sentence read, along with the quote we cited in the beginning.

I agree that Hopper, with its plethora of fintech products and traction on younger travelers, is an up-and-comer that could interfere with Booking Holdings, Airbnb, and Expedia Group-if one of them doesn’t take Hopper to relieve any potential pain. (Although Hopper is expensive because of its ample funding.)

But don’t expect Travel+Leisure, Chase or Uber to be the difference maker in online travel because they have no focus.

The bigger threats are not newcomers but older ones like the aforementioned Google that sucks more free traffic from online travel agencies – unless antitrust enforcers come in with significant curvature-as well as the advantages of hotels continuing their direct-booking strategies.

At the same time, other older participants, hotel brands as a sector, have taken a bit of the booking share in recent years as many hotel websites now have the lowest fares reserved for their members of the loyalty program, and they have already done so. effective marketing to hammer the point.

A recent Similarweb The report found that from January to May 2022, hotels (-20 percent) and vacation rental sites (-12 percent) appeared in better shape than online travel agencies (-36 percent) compared in 2019 in terms of their share in global lodging bookings. .

Hotel and Google brands are more likely to interfere with online travel agencies than Chase, Uber, and anonymous online travel agencies such as HotelWiz at with newly found free links on Google Travel.

In the Western world, at least, how many new-entry travel companies or sectors there are Really Has there been a detrimental effect on the handling of online travel agencies on a global basis? (Sure, there are regional players who strutt on their equipment.)

Facebook, which at some point will be the next travel booking platform? No.

in Facebook Instagram? No.

Amazon, who tried and failed, and tried and failed again to travel, and started modestly on flights to India? No.

The AirAsia superapp? Negative.

The main disruptive forces in online travel agencies are Google, the emergence of Airbnb, and the hotel brands that are taking some part.

Large online travel agencies will see pressures, but they will have a strong role to play in the future of travel for years to come.

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