Online Travel Update: Sonesta Moves Small Group Bookings Online | Foster Garvey PC

Sonesta moves small group bookings online
(“Sonesta Introduces Hybrid Concierge, a Digital Meeting Scheduling Service”, September 9, 2022 via Lodging Magazine)
Sonesta announced plans last week to offer groups the ability to book small group meetings entirely online through CVENT’s instant booking platform. The new online platform will initially be offered at approximately half of Sonesta-managed properties and will allow users to view and book meeting space, select meeting room configurations and review available audio visual options, all online. Reservations will be processed through a single all-inclusive online contract. Sonesta’s remaining managed properties will offer the new booking functionality by the end of 2022.

Would the outright end to price parity change the retail landscape in the EU forever?
(“Calling Booking.com a gatekeeper wouldn’t have the impact European regulators expect”, September 7, 2022 via Skift) (subscription may be required)
According to Skift editor Dennis Schaal, the answer is probably no. In his weekly online travel briefing last week, Dennis argues that a potential “gatekeeper” designation for Booking.com by the European Commission under the soon-to-come-to-force Digital Markets Act (DMA) (and with it, a likely ban on all rate parity requirements) might not be so transformative for online distribution. To support his argument, Dennis refers to several findings from the European Commission’s recently published market study on the distribution of hotel rooms in the EU (which we presented in one of our recent updates ). While I question the value of the study in general (Dennis also acknowledges the incredibly small sample size of hotels participating in the study), I also question the study’s conclusions regarding the effects outright bans on price parity (which a few EU member countries have adopted) . Previous research (and our own experience working with dozens of global hotel brands and management companies) has shown that few brands or management companies fully grasp the effects of critical changes in rate parity laws, and many totally ignore these changes. In my view, any meaningful change the European Commission might hope to achieve by designating Booking.com as gatekeeper will only be possible through an extensive education campaign detailing the effects of the designation and the opportunities offered.

Sonder continues its quest for business travelers
(“Sonder doubles down on GDS strategy with dedicated channel code”, September 7, 2022 via Business Travel News)
In an effort to bolster (and legitimize) its presence on traditional global distribution systems (namely, Amadeus and Saber), Sonder announced last week the launch of its new Dedicated Channel Code (SS).


Other news:

Hopper fills a gap with JetBlue partnership
September 7, 2022 via Skift (subscription may be required)
This partnership allows JetBlue to do business with a younger clientele, particularly beyond the East Coast of the United States.

Tripadvisor allows businesses to display ‘identity’ attributes
September 6, 2022 via Phocus Wire
In order to recognize and celebrate the diversity of owners of hotels and restaurants on its platform, Tripadvisor is adding features allowing these companies to display an “identity attribute”.

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