Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pay Now or Pay Later: A New Choice at Priceline - And the Next OTA Battleground? has begun including "pay-at-checkout" inventory alongside traditional, "pay-in-advance" merchant model hotel inventory at select hotels. Priceline has developed a jazzy new logo and tagline: “Pay When You Stay” to highlight this option.

Users are then given the option of paying upfront or at time of booking when they click to select the hotel.

And this isn't a matter of simply including traditional agency inventory sourced via a Global Distribution System (GDS) such as Sabre or Travelport. This stroke of genius is actually the latest convergence of inventory with non-opaque (i.e. Travelweb) inventory.'s rapidly expanding inventory base within North America now enables Priceline to offer multiple sources of inventory with multiple payment options for the same hotel. At the same time, as more hotels roll out, Priceline has removed one of the largest perceived negatives to booking with an OTA - upfront payment.

The gap between and online travel agencies continues to close. First booking fees fall, then change and cancel penalties disappear and now this latest game-changer.

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