In a week where the Marriott-Starwood deal concludes and Amazon Alexa forays into the UK with Skyscanner integrated as its flight search engine, we consider some other big picture trends
Mega acquisitions, new distribution channels, driving loyalty, pricing dilemmas, the rise of ‘super host’ and building revenue from tours and activities are just some of themes to emerge from interviews and research in the run up to EyeforTravel, North America next month.
Here we outline seven of those trends which we will be analysing more closely in the coming weeks.
1. Competition continues to drive consolidation
In this fluid and competitive environment, firms are looking for ways to fill gaps in their armour through mergers, acquisitions or partnerships. This week’s big news is that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has finally given Marriott and Starwood the nod to conclude this hotel mega-deal before the market opens this Friday.
Perhaps not on the same scale, but an interesting move nevertheless, last week travel and expense management platform Concur announced that it would acquire travel search start up Hipmunk. Though numbers aren’t being disclosed what is clear is that Concur, which has also invested in TripIt, ExpenseIt and Cleartrip, is looking to improve its search functionality and the customer experience.
In Atlanta, future consolidation of the industry will be a core theme and the biggest question of all remains unanswered – could June rumours of a tie up between Priceline and TripAdvisor be the last frontier? What will Todd Henrich, SVP Corporate Development, Priceline and Ed Lang, Director – Corporate & Business Development, Tripadvisor have to say in their keynote address next month?
2. Distribution – never a dull moment
Travel and hospitality brands continue to grapple with how best to distribute their products and services. With the rising number of distribution channels including app, voice and virtual assistants, deciding which to align with remains sharply in focus.
This week Amazon announced the launch of Echo in the UK, and we heard today that it has chosen Skyscanner as its first partner in flight search for devices in the UK.