Trivago, the Germany-based accommodation search site which coincidentally is majority owned by arch Priceline rival Expedia, has found itself without one of its high profile advertising partners in the shape of Agoda.
Over the course of the past week or two, Agoda has been gradually pulling its entire inventory of accommodation from Trivago and confirmed it plans to spend its money elsewhere until at least the end of this year.
The reasons for making such a dramatic move appear to have centred on what Agoda sees as a lack of flexibility from Trivago.
Agoda CEO Robert Rosenstein says the company looks regularly at its performance marketing channels and ranks each against the spend.
“We have to prioritize the best ones for our business and cut the least attractive ones now and then to remain focused.”
In particular, a partner’s scale, technology, economics, end-to-end user experience and willingness to innovate and experiment with how the Agoda product is featured and handled are all considerations.
“Based on these factors, we decided to move this year’s Trivago spend and resources to other channels.”
Agoda has declined to expand on the issue much beyond its CEO’s statements to Tnooz, only to say it believes prospective travellers will find Agoda without the help of its former advertising partner.
Demonstrating the distinctly individual nature by which the Priceline Group operates its portfolio of brands, both Priceline and Booking.com currently remain partners with Trivago.
Trivago has grown steadily since its official launch in 2005, built in part on the back of TV campaigns in Europe and, more recently, in the US.
It claims to be comparing around 850,000 hotels from 264 booking sites (minus one now).
Trivago’s success clearly caught the eye of Expedia, which bought a majority stake in the company for $632 million in December 2012.
The bust-up with Agoda may well be isolated initially, but the issue is said to be shining a light on the tensions that are emerging between online travel agencies and their metasearch partners.
In particular, with increased competition and other channels available (such as relatively recent emergence of TripAdvisor sand Google as major players in the metasearch market), booking sites are seeking more opportunities to curate the product and pricing more effectively, alongside being more flexible with how content is displayed and managed.
Trivago, which has a policy of not discussing its partnerships with advertisers, says it is will not comment on the issue with Agoda.
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