Booking.com quietly gets a big hotel chain signed up to white label services

The hotel industry has been watching closely during 2014 as Priceline (and its Booking.com division) has started flexing its muscles elsewhere.

That “elsewhere” is namely around providing business services for hotels and chains alongside being a consumer-facing distribution partner for room sales.

The most high profile of these moves were the acquisitions of marketing services provider Buuteeq in June this year and cloud-based hotel reservation system startup Hotel Ninjas a few weeks later.

These two purchases place a range of technologies at the disposal of the Priceline Group as it looks to become a B2B services company to the wider hotel sector.

But what else?

This time last year it emerged that one of the largest online travel agencies in Europe, eDreams (part of the Odigeo super-brand), was using the Booking.com white label system for intermediaries, giving over its entire search and booking system for hotels in favour of a Booking.com-powered platform.

And then, just as Priceline was busily buying up technology companies, details of a new and additional white label platform started quietly leaking out.

Alongside providing intermediaries with a search and booking system, Booking.com was also now offering hotels the chance to take a similar service.

It is essentially an extension of the intermediary white label, but instead is tailored for a particular hotel brand, like a customized widget that has been supersized.

Each solution is made specifically for an individual chain and takes up an entire web domain owned by that chain.

How deep a hotel chain wants to get in with Booking.com is a key question in all this – hotels have a delicate balancing act to tackle, as they look to increase direct bookings but also know that the Booking.com is a large distribution network (frenemies in action, perhaps).

But, as one element of the new white label illustrates, having the Booking.com machine behind it to actively market the hotel or chain in paid search is quite an inducement.

Booking.com wouldn’t expand on the development of such tools for hotel or chain partners back in June.

marriott italy bookingcom-2

However, one large hotel chain appears to be willing to give the idea a try, with the entire network of properties belonging to Marriott in Italy having the entire search and booking functionality powered by Booking.com.

Regular users of Booking.com will notice the similar look and feel of the interface, including position of property images, amenities and other booking menu items (example).

How far this integration between Marriott and Booking.com is going to go is unclear (only Italian properties, other Marriott sister brands?).

Again, Booking.com is keeping its cards close to its chest and will not discuss any details of the white label or Marriott deal.

Marriott has yet to respond to requests for comment.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

Comments

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  1. Riffle

    just to be notified 🙂

     
  2. E Sokar

    The bad side of B.com in the Americas is the lack of understanding that we need to get paid correctly. They hire unexperienced people to do the job as they pretend a US based professional getting paid for a data entry level job. Other side is they are outsorcing newly grads from other parts of EU to US and they dont even know the markets trends. B.com please wake up your senses!

     
  3. Ashwin Kamlani

    One of Booking.com’s strength has always been their ability to reach international markets, so it’s possible that was a factor in the decision. American companies are traditionally weak when it comes to marketing to international markets. I would imagine that Italy attracts a huge volume of visitors from all over the world but especially from their neighboring Eastern European countries. I doubt that we will ever see Booking.com powering Marriott’s website here in the US.

     
  4. Margherita

    I have noticed the Booking.com system is avaibale on the italian website for hotels abroad as well. Search for a hotel in New York (http://booking.marriott.it/it/hotels/new-york-marriott-marquis-us/?checkin=2014-08-21;checkout=2014-08-22;dest_id=20088325;dest_type=city;q=New%20York%2C%20Stato%20di%20New%20York%2C%20USA;).
    It looks like they are using the .it website for a beta test.

     
  5. Chinelo Ngene

    Interesting article. I think white label partnerships with companies in the travel space is the future for OTAs.

    I am reaching out to you on behalf of Jovago.com http://www.jovago.com/ Africa’s leading hotel booking portal offering over 200,000 hotels worldwide. The business has a strong focus on Africa and is backed by Africa Internet Holding, the continent’s largest and most successful internet company.

    In Nigeria, Jovago recently partnered with Discovery Air, one of the country’s leading domestic air carriers, a remarkable milestone just 11 months after launch. In addition to this, Jovago.com has also partnered with Trip Advisor, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation & Ice Prince, an award winning Nigerian artist. As Jovago turns 1, the company has a number of innovative projects and partnerships lined up to make the hotel booking experience more seamless to everyone.

    I would like to offer you an exclusive opportunity to interview Marek Zmyslowski, Managing Director for Jovago Nigeria to discuss these impending developments before they are announced to the general public.

    If you are interested, I would be happy to arrange an interview, either in person, by phone/Skype or simply over email. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me in case you have any questions or would like any further information.

    I look forward to your response.

     
  6. Heiko Siebert

    Hasn’t booking.com been doing that (for a good year) already for Marriott for the brasilian site?
    I am convinced the cooperation makes sense for Marriott, as I have high respect for their online skills and strategies. Nevertheless the step is a surprise and concern: if Marriott decides to give this business to booking.com because they can do it better – what are other hotelcompanies supposed to do?
    I just hope the deal includes a sharing of acquisition and customer data, otherwise it would be irreversible.

     
  7. Joan Sanz

    I believe that this can apply whenever it takes about to one month to create the whole distribution for a website so they (hoteliers) can use this as a way to start distributing their rooms ASAP. It could be a smart move. While the sales and ecommerce is set up and ready to start operating, they can start selling right away through a domain that may start getting a searh engine ranking. At the same time, having a total control of both sides, direct online and indrect onilne distribution. Anyways, do not know how will this fit into the philosophy of hotel chains “be more and more independent of indirect channels”.

    This can also apply to SMB so they can have little more time while they are changing their ecommerce strategies or simply a new hotel buyer who needs a easy fast solution.

    Just some ideas coming through my mind while reading this article.

     
  8. william cotter

    My question is – what is marriott’s greatest need and how is Booking.com solving this need?

    Interesting to think why Booking.com can solve this need better than Marriott can themselves.

     
  9. Jamais Trujlllo

    Very interesting that businesses of such magnitude as well as small local business such as ours in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, are all benefiting from Booking.com.
    Jamais Trujillo

     
  10. Riffle

    Hi
    I went through booking.com and http://www.marriott.com/hotel-search/italy.hotels/
    no similiarity, even rates are different for the same room e.g. 21st of aug 1 night 1 adult
    similar content means the same content distributor especially if they use 2 way interface connection

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @riffle – no idea about similarities on rates and availability… but everything else is the same.

       
  11. Ashwin Kamlani

    So… will the Marriott properties in Italy opt out of meta-search like TripAdvisor and Kayak, since they do not allow duplicate listings that pull from the same source of rates and availability? In my opinion it is suicide to put the hotel’s own booking engine into the hands of a third party whose core business is to sell the same room to consumers through its own branded website.

     
  12. Joan Sanz

    Clever. Making hoteliers more and more dependent on booking.com since 1996.

     
 
 

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