It is earnings season, which makes for a longer Update than usual:
- Expedia Enjoys Strong Third Quarter Results. While I am still working my way through the recent Expedia Group earnings call transcript, news of the recent quarter has been uniformly positive. Expedia reported strong results (quarterly records in both revenue and EBITDA and a third quarter record in gross hotel bookings ($18.5 billion)) and even stronger results for its growing B2B business ($995 million in revenue, up 26% year over year and a quarterly record). During the third quarter earnings call, Expedia CEO, Peter Kern, was optimistic about the prospects for the platform’s business now that its unified loyalty program OneKey and technology platform is complete.
- Booking Holdings Also Enjoys a Strong Third Quarter. Expedia’s largest competitor, Booking Holdings, also enjoyed a record third quarter. Booked room nights and gross booking value ($39.8 billion) set new quarterly records. Beyond hotel room accommodations, flights featured prominently in Bookings’ third quarter results with the platform selling 9 million flights during the quarter.
- Google’s Anti-Trust Trial: The Gift That Keeps Giving. Over the past month, we have featured multiple stories detailing the testimony of various OTA executives at the ongoing Google anti-trust trial. This past week, the comments of Expedia Group Chairman (and outspoken spokesman), Barry Diller, surfaced in the ongoing proceedings. According to the reports, the comments were made by Diller back in 2019 when he claimed that he was “on the edge of a revolt” over Google’s increased monetization (e.g., paid display advertising) of its search results. According to Diller, the increasing numbers of paid ads was punitive to Expedia and anyone else relying on a level search playing field.
- Another Week and Another Story on Scammers Leveraging Booking.com’s Messaging Platform. This week’s story comes to us from Singapore.
- IHG’s Attribute Based Bookings Are Here. While IHG’s effort to offer guests attribute-based booking functionality has long been the subject of industry reports (including our own Update), it appears that the functionality is now available, with new functions coming. Through the IHG app, guests can now book rooms based on their location and view. IHG hotels will soon also be able to offer add-ons (e.g., prepaid parking, food and beverage credits) to guests booking on the app. According to IHG, offering these attributes presents an entirely new revenue opportunity for its properties. It will be interesting to watch how third party platforms respond to attribute based bookings and pricing, which present an entirely new meaning to rate and availability parity.
Have a great week everyone. For those of you attending next week’s HSMAI Sales Leader Conference in Long Beach, I hope to see you there. I will be presenting at the sales leader roundtable.