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OTA & Travel Distribution Update - Feb. 24th, 2017

This week’s client OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending February 24, 2017 is below.  Several interesting OTA stories this week, including an update on another Seattle-based travel distribution company, Utrip.

  • Short-Term Rental Corporate OTA Launched [OTA / SHORT-TERM RENTAL].  Not that we needed further evidence of the short-term rental’s growth and maturity in the overall lodging industry, but BridgeStreet Global Hospitality announced last week its launch of an online platform dedicated to connecting corporate travelers with serviced (and “guaranteed”) short-term rental properties.  In my quick review of the website this morning, I noted featured listings in Washington, London, New York, Chicago, Paris and Cleveland.  A dedicated group booking platform for short-term rentals cannot be too far away.

BridgeStreet unveils OTA for business travel communityTnooz News Feed, Feb. 23, 2017
BridgeStreet Global Hospitality says its development of an online travel agency for corporate travellers aims to bridge the gap between extended stay.

  • Airbnb Moves Aggressively Into Luxury Rentals [SHORT-TERM RENTAL].  In its first of many anticipated deals in 2017, Airbnb announced last week its purchase (beating competing offers from both Accor and Expedia) of the short-term luxury rental platform, Luxury Retreats.  With its purchase, Airbnb gains access to Luxury Retreats’ concierge platform and over 4000 luxury property listings.  From the many recent acquisitions (and rumored future acquisitions) in the short-term luxury rental space, it is clear that luxury rentals (and their associated larger margins) are currently the focus of both distributors and operators in the short-term rental market. 

Airbnb Acquires Luxury Retreats, Beating Out Expedia, Accor Yahoo! Finance Lodging News, Feb 16, 2017
Airbnb Inc. bought Luxury Retreats in its biggest acquisition yet as the apartment-rental website takes steps toward becoming a full-service global travel company.


Seattle startup Utrip raises $4M, adds ex-Expedia CFO to board Puget Sound Business Journal, Feb 21, 2017
Seattle startup Utrip raised $4 million and added a former Expedia executive as a board director to make travel planning easier. The average traveler visits 38 websites before booking a vacation, an Expedia study found in 2013. Utrip’s machine learning platform aims to give travelers a personalized itinerary in one.

The Regulators Are Finally Coming for Airbnb and Uber Fortune Magazine, Feb 20, 2017
Lawmakers are squeezing the Valley’s darlings.

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    In addition to founding GSB’s national Hospitality, Travel and Tourism group, Greg serves as the Firm’s Chair, a role in which he oversees management of day-to-day operations and strategic direction in partnership with the ...

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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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