Friday, December 4, 2009

Lodging Recovery: 4 Years Away, OTAs vs. Suppliers, Google vs. TripA and Other Good Discussions

Check out the blog over at for some good thought-provoking discussions following the PhoCusWright conference down in Orlando.

Yen does a nice job of explaining Bill Carroll, Chris Anderson and Jake Fuller's analysis of the lodging cycle and the opportunities for the OTAs. In a nutshell, look for another 4 years of pain for hoteliers and substantial continued opportunities for OTAs.

Solid musings on the potential GDS IPOs along with HomeAway, Kayak and ITA - should be a big year in travel IPOs

And what would a travel discussion be without thoughts on google and tripadvisor?

Catch all the details here including my thoughts on OTA vs. innovation and growth. The reply below is in response to Yen's thoughts around the growth of OTAs during the last economic blip - good supply helps but innovation is critical as well:

I think the question is as much around supply vs. demand as it is innovation vs. the lack of it. and Expedia built their businesses just as much around great pricing as they did around great websites, content and functionality. The chains and airlines fought back and brought their sites (somewhat anyway) up to snuff. But, particularly for airlines, they have relied on booking fees charged by the OTAs as a crutch to create differentiation. With those fees now moot, is it any wonder why consumers, for the same price, aren’t booking where a better booking experience happens – the OTAs? No wonder OTA air segments are way up – which obviously feeds the hotel and car lines of business. The innovation pendulum has swung squarely to the OTAs from the suppliers. Just look at Orbitz Price Assurance for air and hotel or Travelocity’s Guarantee or Expedia’s packaging product to see how the OTAs are changing the game. The suppliers are nowhere in these customer friendly areas. Will the airlines fight back with more negatives (as they are sooo prone to do) by restricting seat assignments or frequent flyer mileage accumulation to their own websites? (Remember when hoteliers did this?) Or will they match the innovation of the OTAs and really attempt to compete? We’ll see next year."

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