The Lead Stories
It's turning out to be an interesting earnings season, with hotels up and online booking sites clearly in transition because of mergers or business model changes.
Skift Take: On hotels' direct-booking rates, one of the major chains is already talking to traditional travel agencies about handing them over. In addition, Choice Hotels, for one, is signaling that better deals from online travel agencies could go a long way toward ending its boycott in distributing loyalty-member rates. If every person has a price, then so indeed do hotel chains.
Skift Take: Marriott knows that in order to make money in the long run, you need to spend some. It also knows that constant communication with your current shareholders -- and your future shareholders -- is crucial when you're about to spend $12.4 billion to buy out one of your competitors.
Skift Take: As with anything Google does, you can expect Google Trips to be very much a work in progress that goes through numerous iterations before it becomes available to the public. But its beta release expands Google's footprint in the travel ecosystem especially since so many consumers begin their trip planning in the search engine and explore destinations with the Maps app.
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We've entered an age where loyalty is measured by direct booking or dollars spent, and it's not always clear to to consumers where they stand.
Skift Take: Although most of the rankings fall in line with what you'd normally expect, there were a few surprises. It's also clear hotels have some work to do when it comes to their food quality, amenities, and loyalty programs.
Online Booking Sites' Earnings
It's not a blowout quarter, but there's nothing pointing to bad news for any of the booking sites. Instead we're seeing them tweak their products and business models.
Skift Take: The Priceline Group is looking for a CEO who can handle disruption and big changes in technology and market conditions in coming years. Just look at the changes in the Group's accommodations mix as lodging alternatives are approaching half of the company's roster of properties.
State of Travel 2016
If there's one message from hotels this quarter it's that they're doing just fine and they're reading to take more control of the booking funnel.
Skift Take: While many North American cruise lines have been ramping up their presence around the globe, Carnival has kept most of its focus on the U.S. That appears to be paying off for the brand.
Skift Take: Airlines are redefining loyalty on all fronts, from the way consumers collect miles or points to what that collection grants them access to before they even get on the plane.
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