Online Travel Update: HotelPlanner Cancels Planned Merger; Booking.Com outsources customer service; Supply remains a challenge for Airbnb – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

United States: Online Travel Update: HotelPlanner Cancels Planned Merger; Booking.Com outsources customer service; Supply remains a challenge for Airbnb

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This week’s update features articles detailing recent fourth quarter earnings releases by TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Marriott and Saber. Enjoy.

HotelPlanner cancels its merger plan

(“ SPAC Merger Off”, February 14, 2022 via Business Travel News)
It seems like only yesterday that many of our customers were speculating about what might come out of the recently announced merger and IPO of group booking platform HotelPlanner, price booking platform Reduced, and SPAC Astrea Acquisition Corp. There is no need for further speculation as the three companies announced last week that they had called off the planned merger. In their statement announcing the cancellation, the three companies did not provide any details about the reasons for the decision. One would assume that the different reputations of HotelPlanner and in the market might have played a role. outsources customer service

(“ ignites anger over customer service move”, February 14, 2022 via Phocus Wire)
According to internal announcements, has chosen to outsource approximately 2,700 call center support positions to a third party, Majorel. A ruthless cost-cutting measure or, as claims, a decision to leverage “cutting-edge customer service expertise” for a rapidly evolving business model? What does this change mean for suppliers and customers? Only time will tell.

Supply remains a challenge for Airbnb

(“Airbnb seeks to recruit more hosts to meet demand after 2021 record high”, February 16, 2022 via Skift) (subscription may be required)
While many of Airbnb’s key financial metrics in the fourth quarter (e.g., revenue and net income) surpassed 2019 pre-pandemic levels, challenges related to rental inventory growth Airbnb continue to plague the rental platform. Despite recent ad campaigns praising its many hosts and improving the host onboarding process, inventory levels at Airbnb have remained largely stagnant at four million households for the past few years. According to Airbnb, approximately 90% of its existing hosts are individuals, which will remain Airbnb’s primary focus area for growing inventory over the next year (and not through professional property managers or, in particular, hotels).

Hopper extends its strategic partnership with Saber

(“Hopper expands strategic technology partnership with Saber”, February 14, 2022 via Finanzen)
Another weekly update and another story from Hopper. Saber and Hopper announced last week that they were renewing and expanding the parties’ long-term strategic partnership. According to the announcement, Saber will serve as Hopper’s lead (non-exclusive) GDS and technology partner.

Other news:

The Tripadvisor revenue call that became a sales pitch for Viator

February 17, 2022 via Yahoo Finance – Top Stories
Tripadvisor’s fourth quarter earnings call with financial analysts amounted to a sales pitch for its potential IPO of Viator – or other options being discussed with third parties that Tripadvisor says are taking place in “parallel”.

Sharing Marriott Direct Booking vs. OTA Channels

February 16, 2022 via Phocus Wire
Marriott International says it has developed its direct channels “more significantly” than the online travel agency channel.

Saber plots recovery as earnings lag

February 15, 2022 via Phocus Wire
Saber says he expects adjusted EBITDA to exceed pre-pandemic levels only by 2025 as travel continues its slow recovery from the impact of the coronavirus.

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