First, we learned Amoma is going out of business.
Next, Hotelbeds announced to cut ties with any booking site which breaks hotel distribution rules.
Finally, Marriott announced it’s new partnership with Expedia. The OTA will become Marriott’s single gateway for the redistribution of Marriott’s wholesale inventory. (N.B. this applies only to wholesalers which are not directly connected to Marriott!)
So, we are clearly in a period of further consolidation.
But let’s take a step back for a moment.
In a way, it all started when Booking.com launched Booking.basic, effectively selling wholesale rates on its platform.
While this may have simply been the response to rate leakage and an attempt by the OTA to offer the best prices to its customers, the consequence for wholesalers was clear.
It put a completely new level of pressure on hotels which now had to decide how to handle (lower) wholesale rates showing up on the world’s largest Online Travel Agent.
And consequently, many hotels decided to further crackdown on wholesalers and violations of rate parity and removed them altogether.
Fast forward, Amoma is gone. Others will follow.
And with less rogue OTAs violating hotel contracts and distribution rules, all over sudden there is less competition on metasearch.
It is an interesting development during a time when Google revamps its travel presence.
There is no doubt that Google will remain the only relevant metasearch engine for hotels. Just like it is going to render TripAdvisor obsolete (Are you still soliciting TripAdvisor reviews or did you already switch to Google Reviews as primary review platform?).
So what does all this mean?
For the independent hotel, it means to make sure your Google My Business listing is in order, respond to Google reviews and make sure you are showing up on Google Hotel Ads.
You will need to connect via one of Google’s connectivity partners to participate.