The Adrian Loveridge Column – Online Booking Agents Are the Disruptors

It’s now almost impossible to comprehend that only 25 years ago, Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) did not exist. Today these third party booking platforms dominate the entire travel industry in almost every aspect of supply and service.

Of the various entities that stand out is the Expedia Group, originally founded as a division of Microsoft in October 1996 before being spun off in 1999 and then ‘acquired’ by a number of successive entities over the subsequent years. While the name Expedia is instantly recognizable for many, the group is made up of a large number of associated and owned companies all playing their part in the overall success of core business including Travelscape, Vacationspot, Classic Custom Vacations, Hotwire, Car Rentals.com, Cruise Ship Centers, Egencia, SilverRail, Hotels.com, Trivago, Wotif, Travelocity, Orbitz, Egencia, Cheap Tickets, Traveldoo and Home Away.

The company’s mission statement is ‘Expedia Group drives incremental demand and direct bookings to travel suppliers, provides advertisers the opportunity to reach a highly valuable audience of travel consumers, powers travel bookings for some of the world’s leading consumer brands and gives travel agents direct access to one of the broadest selections of travel products and services anywhere’.

HomeAway which Expedia acquired in 2015 for US$3.9 billion is one of the main rivals to Airbnb and according to sources boasts over one million alternative lodging listings across 190 countries.

Interestingly, HomeAway has recorded the largest growth of any of the many corporate divisions in recent times, reflecting the overall demand for alternative accommodation experiences and the increasing trend by consumers trying to secure better value for money.

In reality this means they have a product that covers every possible holiday accommodation requirement spanning over every conceivable market demand.

As one of Expedia’s own staff recently and graphically explained was that while Expedia offers the big box, or larger hotel choices, you can also book a self catering option or intimate bed and breakfast property within the same or associated company.

It is probably one of the best examples of a truly integrated corporation or as they artistically describe it on their website ‘the world’s travel platform’.

More recently, a new division called Local Expert has entered the market offering 25,000 plus activities in over 1,000 destinations involving over 4,000 worldwide local partners, allowing holiday makers to research and book various attractions and activities prior to arrival.

Their massive marketing and promotion machine highlights our tourism offerings to a level of exposure that individual partners could seldom dream of experiencing in paid advertising.

The Expedia Group currently has a trading value of US$16.84 billion.

How important are they to our tourism sector?

Well, according to media reporting they are ‘The single largest producer of business to the island (Barbados) for all markets combined’, so would it not be foolhardy not to work constructively with them?

7 comments

  • Pieceuhderockyeahright

    @ Loveridge

    And you were doing so well…..until you dropped this poop “would it not be foolhardy not to work constructively with them…?”

    First of all you have used the double negative in the oddest of circumstances…it not incorrect but the construct is odd ….

    Secondly unless you have the marketing budget to afford Expedia it will seriously discomode small hoteliers whom abound in Barbados.

    Thirdly, because you do not fall into the second category you really have no practical experience about Expedia.

    Expedia sets the price for your rooms AND MORE IMPORTANTLY SETS YOUR ROOM RATE AND YOUR VIRTUAL HOTEL POLICIES.

    Let the ole man explain with a practical exercise.

    I want you to call Expedia as a black caller and a white caller. (So have two people call white American and black britisher)

    Ask for a boutique hotel accommodation for 2 weeks, in someplace other than St James and Christ Church, someplace quiet.

    De ole man guarantees that you will

    A. Pay about 1 1/2 of the cost of what the boutique hotel offers directly AND
    B. CONTRARY TO MOST LOCAL HOTELIERS ‘ POLICIES you will be required to pay alll of the money immediately as opposed to said boutique ‘s 1 night deposit
    C. The fee that you incur should you seek a refund is completely at variance with that of the local hotel in many cases you won’t get any money back
    D. De ole man will not go into the whole charge backs not no show rip offs that these holier than thou OTAs you are promoting employ causing I ent got the time

    Your suggestion of, and ensuing proposed subscription to any of these OTAs is an abdication of the need for an indigenous virtual marketing tool for tourism particularly in an age where world class programming is so easily accessible and due diligence for such skill sets is old hat.

    The problems is that where a feller like the Honourable Blogmaster knows how to employ WebRTC effectively and as such is a wise advisor to consult with on things IT, he is never going to be consulted by our illiterate Billy Goat BMTI CEOs and Permanent Secretaries.

    Dese is fellers Who ent got a clue bout cuntputer code but making de final decision bout million dollar IT platforms

    Like

  • pieceuhderockyeahright

    @the Honourable Blogmaster, your assistance please

    Like

  • Here is why you have problems I was standing in line at a cafe at Hastings three people behind counter no one acknowledges I am there waiting 7 minutes to overpay for an omelette another person in line and a customer trying to bring his dishes back still not even a I will just be a second or something just plain rude. So I always do recon then bring all the family if it is good. But even if it was me alone 50 dollars lost when I left if that happens once a day that is 1500 a month maybe a rent payment. My buddy’s would have let her go right away in there shops she is bad for business and warned the other two.

    Like

  • Black Woman Who’s Read a Lot

    Just as a general suggestion, do any Bajans think the shite bubbling in Hastings can be fixed if we’d all attended to Epheshunz?

    Ah Jus’ aksin’

    Like

  • Black Woman Who’s Read a Lot

    Ah mean, diggin up dat monument tah Satan?

    Like

  • Here comes John.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    What all these online platforms LOVE is a bunch of relatively independent operators. They effectively want a piece of all of your business, by ramming their online platforms down your throat, and taking a piece of all bookings.
    The next step is get involved in ownership, who has better access to occupancy rates?

    Like

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