In what could be a significant strategic development, Booking.com is now getting inventory and exclusive prices for hotels from other online travel agencies.
Whilst it is not clear as yet if this is a fully fledged "marketplace"-type effort, the Booking Holdings-operated accommodation giant is featuring heavily discounted rates on some properties as part of a new service known as Booking.Basic.
An official at Booking Holdings says Booking.Basic is currently a "test."
Cesar Lopez at Spanish hotel consultancy Mirai, which has analyzed what it could mean if the test becomes a permanent feature, argues that the model could be to the detriment of hotels that do not have agreements in place with the original contractor to push rates again to Booking.com.
"It is not surprising, nor should it be a shock, that Booking.com also resorts to others to improve their competitiveness where it does not have the best price."
One such question to emerge will be: How deep and wide would Booking.com extend the program to other OTAs to participate, not least to brands outside of close and peripheral family members of Booking Holdings?