TripAdvisor nabs Marriott for Instant Booking, stock jumps 14%
In the next few months, TripAdvisor users will be able to reserve rooms at any of Marriott’s 4,200 hotels worldwide by clicking on buttons scattered among its hotel metasearch results.
TripAdvisor, the travel metasearch giant, has long wanted hotel chains to join its year-old TripConnect Instant Booking platform, which processes reservations like it’s an agency.
But among the half-dozen largest global chains, only Accor has signed on. Until now.
Today Marriott, one of the six largest global chains, said it has signed up. In the next few months, TripAdvisor users will be able to reserve rooms at any of Marriott’s 4,200 hotels worldwide by clicking on buttons scattered among its hotel metasearch results.
The users will not be handed off to an online travel agency or metasearch site, which is the old model TripAdvisor would like to become less dependent upon. Half of TripAdvisor’s revenue comes from Expedia and Priceline, analysts say.
A TripAdvisor spokesperson tells Tnooz today:
“We have instant booking partnerships with other large hotel brands, including Best Western, Accor, Choice Hotels and others.”
That’s true. But in the year since Instant Booking launched, analysts have incessantly pestered CEO Stephen Kaufer, in various ways at investor conferences and on quarterly earnings calls, about when TripAdvisor might get more of the global hotel chains on board.
Kaufer has kept saying, in so many words, “have patience.”
At the closing bell, TripAdvisor’s stock was up 14% for the day in the US markets. It was the stock’s largest spike in four months.
That reflects the consensus opinon of investors that once Marriott is on board, most of the other global hotel chains will fall into line under peer pressure.
That would be a turnabout. For example, Hilton, one of the other big global chains, has said prior to this annoucement it will not be joining the program.
Still, Kaufer hinted in May at an investor conference his view that once the first domino fell, the other global chains would fall, too.
“I don’t see why almost every major chain would come on board at some point….
There’s something of a reluctance to be first, in some cases. There’s some ‘I don’t need anything to be different right now, especially with strong occupancy rates.’…
As more of those bookings go through higher-cost channels, that may wake up hotels to join the store….
I believe the hotel chains will all tell you that they’d like to reduce their dependency on third-party distribution channels.
To the degree that TripAdvisor is a direct marketing channel for them, that sends them a direct booking — someone clicks from TripAdvisor to the supplier direct website and books — the hotels are happy, it achieves their strategic objective of increasing domain direct booking.
To the degree that, with Instant Book, TripAdvisor now takes the booking, sends them all the consumer information, helps them download their favorite apps, and all the rest of it that we’re happy to provide, well, we become no longer a direct booking but another distribution channel.
The fact is, that should be viewed as a good thing, from their perspective, because it is a booking that would have otherwise gone through an OTA partner, that is now going direct to them.”
Online travel company giants Expedia Inc and Priceline Group are, in effect, boycotting the platform.
As additional context, on its last earnings call Kaufer noted:
“In hotels, we expanded instant books reach in Q1. On the user side, we were pleased to introduce the booking future to some mobile phone users in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.
We’re honing a more seamless booking experience on TripAdvisor, and we’re working hard to enable all English-speaking countries. On the partner side, were currently working with over 50 OTA and hotel brand clients, including 20 that are live. Q1 was also the first full quarter of our instant book beta for independent hotels.
We’re live with more than 70 connectivity partners and the thousands of independent hotels currently taking bookings on our platform. Early feedback continues to be very positive.”
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