Technology

Is Booking.com turning into an OTA?

Booking.com appears to be expanding beyond its speciality in hotel bookings into the realm of becoming a full-fledged online travel agency.

Skift reports that over the last few months the site has been experimenting with flight-hotel packages with the option of adding-on airport taxis and other services, as well as revamping its loyalty program.

So far, the new features have been tested on select users across the US, France, Poland and Turkey.

The select users have had access to tabs on the website labelled “Flight + Hotel”, “Vacations”, or “Packages”.

The site initially broke with its hotels focus late last year when its homepage began to feature flights from Kayak, car rentals and even restaurant reservations, all of which came from sister brands of parent company Booking Holdings.

But its new foray into packages suggests the company may soon be looking to make its own direct connections with airlines and tour providers.

However, Skift reports the expansion would almost certainly carry risks, with its accommodation focus allowing it to be more profitable and have more effective marketing than its competitors.

The changes come as competitor Airbnb up the anti, waging an open warfare on Booking.com and Expedia through an open letter to boutique hotel and Bed and breakfast owners.

The letter begins by attacking the fees charged by “travel agents like Expedia and Booking”.

Booking.com has already established its desire to compete with Airbnb by stepping up its alternative accommodation push and adding short-term rentals to the whole home vacation properties it’s already pushing.


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