Online Travel Update: Expedia Predicts Better Travel Days Ahead; Southwest Adopts Kayak’s Business Platform; Oyo has released the Top 10 most downloaded travel apps of 2021 – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

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United States: Online Travel Update: Expedia Predicts Better Travel Days Ahead; Southwest Adopts Kayak’s Business Platform; Oyo has released the 10 most downloaded travel apps of 2021

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Our first update of 2022 includes a number of stories about the evolving marketing tactics of hotels and their distribution partners. Enjoy.

Better days ahead? Expedia certainly thinks so
(“Online Travel Giants’ Marketing Spend Continues to Head North”, January 10, 2022 via Phocus Wire)
(“VIDEO: How Hotel Marketing Tactics Are Changing”, January 12, 2022 via Phocus Wire)
Last week, two articles detailed the apparent spending spree of major OTAs on sales and marketing. What is driving this growth? General optimism about the expected return of the travel industry? Renewed efforts to defend or capture critical market share in an increasingly competitive online market? A stubborn determination to quash hoteliers’ seemingly successful direct booking attempts – especially over the past 18 months? Maybe a bit of all three? According to a report published last week by PhocusFil, most major online booking channels saw huge year-over-year increases in sales and marketing spend in the third quarter. Airbnb increased its third-quarter spending year-over-year by 156% to a meager $291 million. Expedia Group increased third-quarter spending year-over-year by 150% to $1.3 billion and confirmed plans late last week to run Superbowl ads for Expedia.com and Vrbo (Expedia’s first such ads in years). Booking Holdings increased its year-over-year spending by nearly 100% to a total of $1.38 billion. Trip.com in China bucked that trend, whose 12% year-over-year increase was reportedly in response to continued uncertainty over the pandemic.

Southwest Adopts Kayak’s Business Platform
(“Southwest Airlines Connects to Kayak for Business”, January 12, 2022 via Business Travel News)
Not so long ago Southwest, choosing to focus almost exclusively on its direct-channel entertainment business, wanted nothing to do with third-party distribution channels. Obviously things have changed. Last week, Kayak announced that Southwest fares (including discounts and rewards bookings) would be available on Kayak’s business platform, Kayak for Business. According to Southwest’s statements, Kayak likely won’t be the last third-party chain to introduce Southwest fares and routes soon.

The 10 most downloaded travel apps of 2021
(“Google Maps Top in 2021 as Most-Downloaded Travel App,” January 10, 2022 via Yahoo Finance – Top Stories)
Did you make the cut? If you are a hotelier, the answer is no. How about the list of top 10 online travel booking apps downloaded in 2021? The only online booking platform and operator, Oyo, was on the list of top 10 online travel booking apps downloaded in 2021. Expedia Group and Booking Holdings did well on the list of booking app downloads in line – occupying six of the 10 positions combined. Notably, online platform (and widely known provider of a variety of fintech products) Hopper continued to rank well on the list of online travel apps, coming in at number three. Have you ever wondered what effect the explosion of marketing investment from online travel agencies is having? Take a look at both lists.

Have a great week everyone. Stay healthy.

Note that for those new to industry events, I plan to attend the ALIS conference in Los Angeles later this month. If you plan on being in Los Angeles, let me know.

Other news:

Expedia returns to Super Bowl ad in sign of optimism for COVID-weary travelers
January 15, 2022 via GeekWire
Expedia Group returns to the Super Bowl, offering hope to those yearning to be back on the beach. The Seattle-based online travel giant confirmed Friday morning that it plans to advertise its Expedia.com and Vrbo brands during the Super Bowl LVI broadcast on Sunday, February 13.

Google poses ongoing threat to online travel agencies, says Globaldata
January 13, 2022 via GlobalData – All the news
COVID-19 has had a serious impact on online travel agencies (OTAs), according to GlobalData, which notes that the market value of OTAs declined 60.4% year-over-year (YoY) in 2020. Leading data and analytics firm reveals that this tension has amplified OTA’s existing concerns about Google’s growing presence in the market, and how control of the tech giant could impact competitiveness and , therefore, on consumer choice.

Cvent uses a former military supplier for Mtg. Health Pass technology
December 23, 2021 via Business Travel News
Meetings technology provider Cvent has partnered with multi-factor identity authenticator ID.me to create and offer Cvent Health Check as a privacy-focused health pass for meetings and events.

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