Update on OTA and travel distribution: Expedia’s Vrbo sees significant growth in bookings; Expedia is expanding its cryptocurrency payment options; Singapore Airlines Adds Surcharge to Global Distribution System | Foster Garvey PC | Instant News

Several themes emerged in this week’s stories, including the bullish return of short-term rentals and the continued direct booking efforts by airlines and meta-search sites seeking to serve them. Enjoy. Vrbo Hitting Its Stride (“The vacation rental brand Vrbo is emerging as Expedia Star with reservations from the pandemic era”, Jul 6, 2020 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required); aims to reduce costs “, July 6, 2020 via GeekWire) For several weeks we have been posting stories about the alleged V-shaped recovery of the short term vacation rental market. Does such a recovery represent a short-term phenomenon or a seismic change in the accommodation preferences of travelers in the post-COVID world? It’s probably too early to tell, but Expedia’s announcement last week only adds to the debate. As of Monday, Expedia announced that its rental platform Vrbo had increased gross bookings year over year during the months of May and June. Expedia attributes Vrbo’s success to much of the platform’s inventory in driving destinations, which, a few months earlier, had been viewed by many in the industry as a weakness. Vrbo’s success came a month before Expedia began to consolidate its two main rental platforms – Vrbo and Homeaway. Despite Vrbo’s success, gross bookings by the Expedia brand family fell 45% in June (an improvement from the 85% drop in March and April). Expedia expands cryptocurrency options (“Expedia signs agreement with Travala.com to add crypto payment option”, July 6, 2020 via RTT News – Top Stories) Last week, the UK-based travel booking platform Kingdom, Travala.com, has announced that it has struck a deal with Expedia Group to make the 700,000 Expedia hotels and accommodations available to users of the crypto platform. Travelers can now book and pay for accommodations Expedia using one of the 30 cryptocurrencies used by Travala (including Bitcoin). The partnership with Expedia comes seven months after Travala and Booking.com announced a similar distribution relationship. Singapore adds supplement to global distribution system (“What a new Singapore Airlines supplement could mean for other carriers, July 6, 2020 via Skift) (subscription may be required), although the effects of such a change in other long-standing users (for example, domestic airlines or perhaps even hotels) of traditional global distribution systems remain unclear, the recent announcement by Singapore Airlines to impose an additional $ 12 per reservation on Global Distribution System (GDS) reservations (as of January 2021) could be a game-changer. Reservations made through Singapore’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) channel will not be subject to the surcharge. Although Singapore is not the first airline to introduce a GDS surcharge (several European airlines have already implemented similar surcharges), it is one of the first Asian airlines (after Qantas) to do so. The supplement is part of Singapore’s broader goal of making information and functionality available to users on its own platforms available to its travel partners. More to follow … More news: Skyscanner shows tenacity to overcome challenges Selling airline tickets on MobileJul 7, 2020 via Skift Travel News (a subscription may be required) A few years ago, Skyscanner and d ‘Other travel price comparison search brands risked losing relative popularity. Consumers were turning to mobile devices and meta-search brands aren’t making as much money on mobile as they generally are. But new e-commerce design tricks can once again propel Skyscanner and its peers to more relevant positions. Barry Diller doesn’t have time to talk about a world changed by PandemicJul 8, 2020 via Bloomberg Quint – StoriesForget Home Work and Zoom Meetings. Barry Diller is betting that the future is very much like the past. Billionaire who made his fortune as a Hollywood mogul and more recently in online dating, Diller predicts that life will return to roughly normal once there is a vaccine against the coronavirus. Families will take vacations again and managers will send employees to conferences. Strong luxury travel, promotions and OTAs likely to boost Chinese exportsJul 8, 2020 via TTG Asia – NewsLuxury tourism players should be the first in the industry to see a revival of Chinese travelers abroad who will also be attracted to hotel security and attractive travel discounts and promotions, said an expert in Chinese hospitality and tourism marketing technology. Expedia’s Melissa Maher talks about travel recovery, hotel partnership and diversity and inclusion on July 8, 2020 via WITCharuta Fadnis, Senior Vice President of Research and Product Strategy at Phocuswright organized “ The Breakfast Show In North America ” at the WiT Virtual Summit on June 24 when she interviewed Melissa Maher, Chief Inclusion Officer & SeniorVice President at Expedia Group, on issues ranging from the company’s recovery program to its initiatives diversity and inclusion. Booking.com presents a security feature for accommodation partners July 6, 2020 via Business Traveler – NewsFollowing Cleartrip, and Tripadvisor, Booking.com has also launched the “ health and safety measures ” feature on its platform. The new functionality will allow hosting partners to select the various health and safety measures they take in areas such as hygiene, disinfection, social isolation and food security, among others.

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