The hotel distribution landscape is complex, with hotel rooms being sold and promoted through many different channels. COVID-19 has certainly impacted how and where hotel rooms are being distributed, but it is unlikely that this disruption will be sustained long term. That's not to say that disruption isn't coming, though.
The online travel industry is marginally better positioned to deal with this current outbreak than many of their suppliers in the hotel and airline industry. But the damage is only getting worse. It will still be severe and long-lasting.
There's a reason we love earnings season: lot's of interesting new company data points.
Many online travel agencies are no longer specialists in one product, instead aiming to become one-stop shops. The platform that a booking site can offer is a key part of its competitive moat and the contours of supply at Booking Holding and Expedia vary widely from each other.
Online travel agencies remain essential to the travel industry as consolidators of and clearinghouses for advertising dollars throughout the space. We do not see OTAs being removed from this position easily, but challenges are growing by the day.
Amazon likely has a role to play in the future of travel distribution, marketing, or devices — if not all three. Travel leaders need to prepare today, or risk being caught flat-footed tomorrow.
Priceline dominates the online travel industry. It quietly goes about its business and continuously puts up strong results year after year, turning a once-beleaguered near-dot-com-bust into one of the most successful technology companies in the world.
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