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Posts from August 2018.

As the days of summer come to an end, activity in the distribution world has begun to pick back up again.  I hope you enjoy.

Recent Important OTA Developments Largely Ignored? 
("Online travel agency moves harming profitability: What hotels need to know," Phocuswire, August 24, 2018)
This is not the first time we have warned our readers about these two newly promoted OTA programs – Expedia’s Add-On Advantage and Booking.com’s Booking.Basic.  If you missed our previous stories on these two programs, please take the time to read Max Starkov’s piece from PhocusWire below.  Although the names are new, the practices are not.  The good news, as Max points out, is that there are measures that can be taken contractually to counter each of these programs (some of the same measures we attempt to put in place with each contract we review), but it all begins with awareness.  

August has been a slow month in the distribution world as this week’s Update reflects.

Seattle Is Home to Yet Another Travel Industry Startup
("KuaiBangXing Links Chinese Travelers With Activities: Travel Startup Funding This Week," August 17, 2018)
There must be something in our Seattle water...Seattle-based activities booking platform, KuaiBankXing, announced last week that it had completed its $1 million angel round of funding.  The 3-year old startup assembles itineraries (using either existing programs or directly assembling its own combination of tours and activities) and marries those itineraries with Mandarin speaking escorts.  KauiBankXing not only then promotes and sells these itineraries to inbound Chinese travelers (via OTAs like Ctrip and Fliggy), but also works with independent tour and activity providers to better promote and facilitate transactions with inbound Chinese travelers.  

Travel Agency Hit With TCPA Class Action Over Cuba Texts
Law 360 - Cybersecurity & Privacy on Aug 10, 2018 (subscription required)
An online travel agency that arranges trips to Cuba got slapped with a proposed class action in Florida federal court on Thursday for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, with the lead plaintiff claiming he received an illegal telemarketing text message via an automatic telephone dialing system.

Corporate Travel Sector Eyes a New Distribution Model Down Under
Skift Travel News on Aug 2, 2018
Qantas, Serko, and Corporate Travel Management are leading the charge towards new distribution capability adoption in Australia, promising better access to rich content. They will have to overcome plenty of confusion in the market, however, before the new distribution channels are fully accepted. Global airlines have moved slowly to adopt new technology that allows them to more effectively merchandise their products and connect directly with the companies that sell their flights.

This week’s Update features a variety of stories, including a story on an unique approach to loyalty.  Enjoy.

Sweden Challenges “Narrow” Parity
("Swedish competition court orders Booking.com to change contractual restrictions," MLex, July 20, 2018) 
You can add Sweden to the handful of European countries (e.g., Italy, France and Germany) not convinced that Booking.com’s proposed rate parity panacea (a/k/a “narrow parity”) solves all competition ills.  We hope to have more information about this recent Swedish court decision in the weeks ahead. 

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Greg Duff, Editor
Greg Duff founded and chairs GSB’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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