OTA and travel distribution update: launch of a family travel club in the midst of a pandemic; Booking.com Launches New Incentive Program For Travelers; tight parity commitments offered in South Korea | Foster Garvey PC

It has been a relatively quiet week for the distribution industry. Enjoy.

Family Travel Club launched in the midst of a pandemic
(“The online family travel club started by Wall Street Journal alumni not subject to the pandemic,” July 20, 2020 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Last week saw the launch of The Expedition, an online subscription-based travel platform focused on families. Founded by two former newspaper and magazine publishers (Wall Street Journal, Travel + Leisure and TIME), the newly launched platform will offer travel content and discounted services and products, and provide subscribers with an interactive network of Travel industry professionals and travelers focused exclusively on family. to travel.

Booking.com launches reservation change incentive
(“Booking.com Creates Reservation Incentive with Reimbursement for Travelers, Waiver of Commission for Suppliers,” July 20, 2020 via Phocus Wire)
After launching its vendor-focused recovery program earlier this year (a program that has received mixed reactions from many vendors), Booking.com is now turning its attention to travelers. Last week, Booking.com launched a new incentive program in the United States focused on travelers whose travel plans have been disrupted due to the pandemic. Travelers who have previously canceled their U.S. accommodation reservations will receive a 15% credit for stays re-booked at the same property made before December 31 (for travel before April 30, 2021). Commissions on bookings made under the program will also be waived. While some vendors may celebrate the commission exemption, it will be interesting to see the response to the program’s temporary discounts by travelers, vendors, and Booking.com’s online competitors.

Tight parity commitments offered in South Korea
(“Global Online Booking Platforms Propose to Eliminate Wide MFN Clauses in South Korea While Retaining Narrow Clauses,” July 20, 2020 via MLEX Insight)
Reports from South Korea indicate that Booking.com and Expedia are once again advocating the use of “tight” parity provisions (direct channel only) to appease Korean competition officials and to end the investigation into corporate contracting practices that started last year. . At this time, it is not clear whether the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) will follow the lead of regulators in Hong Kong and some EU countries, and accept the “narrow” proposal or instead follow the path. example of regulators in Italy, Germany and potentially Australia. , and all together reject the parity obligations.


Other news:

Trip.com expects China’s domestic travel industry to fully recover in the coming months
July 21, 2020 via CNBC Travel
The coronavirus outbreak in China that has been brought under control and the removal of travel restrictions between provinces may help the domestic travel industry recover, said James Liang, chairman and co-founder of Trip.com Group.

OTA version 2.0 is likely to come from outside the travel industry – PhocusWire
July 20, 2020 via Hotel News Resource
Chris Hemmeter is right: Airbnb does not have the opportunity to position itself as a next-generation online travel agency. But what is one of these entities likely to be, in reality?
Airbnb, in its current form, is immediately at a disadvantage. It doesn’t have a transportation component, despite Fred Reid’s highly publicized 2019 appointment.

Travelport Reaches Deal With Creditors That Could Save It From Bankruptcy For Now
July 22, 2020 via Skift Travel News
Travelport has reached a standstill agreement with its creditors, people familiar with the matter say, as the parties haggle over a decline in the value of the business since the start of the pandemic.

Kayak CEO hints company could go into hospitality
July 23, 2020 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
There has been speculation over the years that online travel agencies are branching out into the hotel business, and Kayak CEO Steve Hafner teased it in an interview on Thursday. Hafner, who heads Booking Holdings’ Kayak and OpenTable brands, dropped the hint during a pre-recorded interview for Travel’s Path Forward: Online Travel, when discussing the company’s product roadmap during the break from Covid-19.

Willie R. Golden