Airbnb roll out a new brand identity centered on “belonging anywhere in the sharing economy”

Airbnb have recently announced and launched a complete overhaul of its brand identity. 

Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique spaces around the world through mobile phones or the internet. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, with over 800,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.  It has found accommodation solutions for over 15 million customers.

airbnb old logo

Old Logo

airbnb_logo_detail

New logo

The launch is not without controversy with a number of industry commentators poking fun at the suggestive nature of the logo in addition to claims of plagiarism.

We like it….and have taken an extract from their blog written by Brian Chesky one of the co-founders that provides insights to the thinking behind the new brand identity.

“In the end, nothing can express our identity more profoundly than the stories of people who make up this community. When we started Airbnb, I had no idea about the people we would meet, or the friendships I would make. Then I met Amol, one of the first guests, who later invited me to his wedding in India. I met Sebastian, who was trapped in his house in the middle of the London Riots in 2011. Before his own mother had a chance to check that he was okay, seven of his former guests did. And I met Shell, who saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and listed her home for free to those who were displaced. 100415a-HQ28-007 NATO Headquarters Brussels. These people, along with millions of others, have their own unique backgrounds and life experiences. We all come from vastly different cultures and places. And yet, no matter how many miles may separate us, we are united by the universal, powerful, human desire to connect, to understand, and to belong. So together, with this new identity, I look forward to starting the next chapter of this improbable journey with the idea that first set it in motion—the belief that belonging can take us anywhere”. — Brian Chesky airbnb_logo_4things

Read more on the drivers behind the new brand positioning at:

http://blog.airbnb.com/belong-anywhere/

Metasearch | L2: Business Intelligence for Digital

hotel searchWhile travellers are increasingly dependent on metasearch to inform their hotel booking decisions, hotels are losing out to OTAs on top booking positions and traffic to brand sites. The L2 Prestige Hotels 2014 Metasearch Insight Report reveals the performance gap and shows how hotel brands can leverage metasearch to fight back against OTAs to drive consumers to their sites for direct bookings and higher margins.

via Metasearch | L2: Business Intelligence for Digital.

With Licensing Deal Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Looks to Dominate the Online Travel Market | Benchmark Monitor

by Daniel Stone — April 9, 2014

English: The Google logo, the word "Googl...

The Google logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New York – On Tuesday, Bloomberg released a report that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has reached an agreement with Room 77 to license that company’s hotel booking software.  Room 77 is a start-up that has been funded by Expedia (Nasdaq:EXPE).  The licensing deal marks Google’s intention to re-enter the online travel market after a stop-start attempts in the past, including the introduction of Hotel Price Ads (HPA) in 2010, the acquisition of ITA Software in 2011, and the launch of Hotel Finder the same year.

Along with Expedia, the online travel market is currently dominated by Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:WWW), and TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP).  According to the ITB World Travel Trends report published last December, online travel booking now accounts for almost 70 percent of all booking and mobile bookings is one to the fastest growing segments overall.  In the United States alone, the industry is worth more than $ 300 billion and given the recent performance of many of the companies in the sector there is still room for growth.

According to analysts the licensing deal by Google is most likely an attempt to upgrade their HPA, which essentially operates as the equivalent of ITA, a proprietary airline booking software.  Whilst HPA is aimed at hotel marketers, the software would essentially allow Google to complete the loop, by facilitating the customer booking.  If this is the case, Google would be positioning itself to cut the middlemen, such as Priceline and Expedia, while providing hotels with a better return on investment when compared to typical paid search campaigns.

Furthermore, industry analysts believe the move was driven by the Department of Justice’s ruling that allowed Google to acquire ITA Software on several conditions, including Google must allow licensed competitors to continue using the software, Google must take measures to prevent snooping, and the company must continue to maintain the software for licensees.

Through the licensing deal, it could be expected that Google might make more forays into the industry as their ‘competitors’ have little if any choice but to continue advertising through Google. While there is little direct evidence to suggest that such a move would hurt Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvisor, almost 90 percent of what they spend on marketing goes to Google.  As such, the increased emphasis on travel could dramatically alter the online travel market in the long-run.  Shares in Google were up $ 4.10 in pre-market trading on Wednesday morning.

via With Licensing Deal Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Looks to Dominate the Online Travel Market | Benchmark Monitor.

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IHG Announces Strategic Technology Relationship with Amadeus

amadeus new logo on blueIHG logoYesterday Amadeus made the following interesting blog post:

“Today IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, announced a strategic technology relationship with Amadeus.  This fully supports the mission and strategy we have shared openly with our investor community, media and colleagues across the hotel and travel industry over the last year.  Our stated mission is to build a community model for the hotel industry – a replica of our highly successful Amadeus Altéa community model for airlines.

So what does this relationship with IHG bring to help us execute this strategy?  IHG has a wealth of subject matter expertise: renowned for offering the most innovative and efficient technological solutions at all stages of the Guest Journey Dream, Plan, Book, Travel and Share to enhance their guests’ experience, IHG has sound ideas about what next-gen systems for the hotel industry should look like.

As Eric Pearson, CIO, InterContinental Hotels Group commented: “IHG is a brand and consumer driven company. We use insight to anticipate consumer trends and behavior. We also have a long track record of investing in relevant technologies to support our brand promise and build a closer relationship with our guests. Partnering with Amadeus will help us continue to do just that.”

The initial phase of the strategic relationship between IHG and Amadeus will be focused on planning and development. This will involve scoping out and creating a roadmap for potential technologies and solutions that will drive innovation in the industry.

The marriage of IHG’s unique insight and world class guest care with Amadeus’ technology vision and infrastructure capabilities has the potential to deliver a step change in hotel solutions.

While a ‘community model’ is a new concept for the highly fragmented hotel industry we see significant interest and, as we progress with partners like IHG, we look forward to truly shaping the future of hotels.

via IHG Announces Strategic Technology Relationship with Amadeus.

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Global travel sites target fast-growing China market – TRAVEL – Globaltimes.cn

Hotels onlineOne of the worlds largest online travel booking sites released their official Chinese website and app earlier this month.”We hope to show our determination on developing the Chinese market by offering online hotel booking services of high quality,” said Zhuang Peifu, marketing director in China of hotels.com, at the press conference.

Hotel booking site HRS also entered the China market in July last year, offering Chinese language pages and a booking system on websites and mobile terminals. Its listings include castles and those with special services or designs, especially European destinations.China has become the largest tourism spender in the world, according to China Tourism Academy statistics released last August. With about 98 million person-time Chinese mainland tourists traveling overseas last year, the market has potential.

The prediction for this year is 16 percent growth to 114 million.  Chinese online travel booking sites are also growing rapidly. Two domestic online travel booking sites – ctrip.com and qunar.com – ranked 10th and 15th globally on skift.com last October. Customized for Chinese”There are a lot of foreign websites offering hotel booking services with different promotion styles, but some of them set up their Chinese language pages early, which means it will be easier for them to habituate Chinese customers,” said Li Peng, a freelance overseas travel consultant.

Li recommended two sites under Priceline Group, booking.com and agoda.com as his first choices when booking foreign hotels for his customers.Cooperating with Chinas largest online booking site ctrip.com, booking.com has explored the Chinese market since 2012. With its customer services and Chinese language pages, the site has gained wide praise from Chinese users. Of course another reason booking.com is preferred by many Chinese customers is that most bookings can be canceled for free. The site can also automatically form an itinerary list with details of all the hotels customers are booking, a very necessary tool for Chinese people applying for travel visas in other countries, such as the Schengen visa for European countries. Most places can be changed or canceled for free later if they want to change their destinations or schedules.

Booking.com has taught a lesson to new arrivals. Both HRS and hotels.com announced it was free to cancel or change a booking.  “These international websites have their strong database of hotels, which means many hotels can be found on all of these sites and the discounts they offer always make a difference over time,” Li said.HRS customized services for Chinese tourists. “China friendly” listed hotels offer special services for Chinese customers and “HRS Deals” promote half-price hotels daily.Agoda.com attracts members with its personal purchase points. “We can get the discount back by adding up the purchase points which means that the more we book,%

via Global travel sites target fast-growing China market – TRAVEL – Globaltimes.cn.

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Amadeus Seeks More Acquisitions After NMTI Purchase – WSJ.com

AmadeusAmadeus says it is looking for new acquisitions, after its $500 million deal to buy U.S. technology company NMTI Holdings, Inc.

“I don’t know if we’ll go for a deal of the same scale as this one, but we are definitely not ruling anything out; and smaller deals are also possible in the future,” Chief Financial Officer Ana de Pro said in an interview Thursday.

Amadeus is looking for possible acquisitions in airport management and railway bookings, Ms. De Pro said. The company wants a bigger role in rail travel, as people look for convenient alternatives to flying, she said. It is also looking for prospects in Western Europe, where high-speed trains are more common, and in North America.

Late Wednesday, Amadeus said it purchased booking services provider NMTI, known for its commercial brand Newmarket. That acquisition, Amadeus’ largest yet, reflects a strategy to move the company away from its traditional niche as market leader in the little-known world of travel reservation technology.

Amadeus is based in Madrid and has a market value of 13 billion euros. It provides the technical backbone for bookings made through popular systems such as Expedia.

via Amadeus Seeks More Acquisitions After NMTI Purchase – WSJ.com.

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Hotels Fuel U.S. OTA Growth as Air Bookings Decline

PhocuswrightU.S. online travel agencies (OTAs) have long relied on airline tickets as the cornerstone of their business. But sliding air bookings are now forcing OTAs to seek growth elsewhere. According to a new PhoCusWright report, OTA air gross bookings are projected to drop 7% in 2013 as air suppliers succeed in driving direct bookings via online and mobile channels. Hotel and lodging, not air, is now the segment driving OTA growth.

via PhocusWright Newsletter.

TripAdvisor Roadmap: How it Wants to Own the Travel Cycle – Skift

Trip AdvisorTripAdvisor, which began as a place to read reviews and research a trip, and lately has morphed into hotel bookings through metasearch, has a new frontier: TripAdvisor wants to become an in-destination personal concierge.

This extension of TripAdvisor’s interest into another facet of the travel cycle comes because of the proliferation of mobile devices, and is great news for tours and activities startups, many of which have been struggling with business models or have died off.

Don’t be surprised if TripAdvisor, which often buys a handful of travel startups each year, comes knocking on the door of GetYourGuide, 18-year-old Viator (although it would be relatively expensive), or another tours and activities startup to further TripAdvisor’s in-destination ambitions.

Skift sat down with TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer earlier this week, and he described TripAdvisor’s vision of the future, which broke down into four areas: global growth, becoming an in-destination personal concierge, vacation rentals, and improving TripAdvisor search.

via TripAdvisor Roadmap: How it Wants to Own the Travel Cycle – Skift.

Airbnb Vs. New York City: The Defining Fight of the Sharing Economy – Skift

The sharing economy, or as some call it the collaborative consumption economy, is still in its early infancy and companies like AirbnbLyftRelayRides and their peers are the hottest topic in the startup world right now.

The legality of these startups has been in the grey from the start, as they push against the incumbent laws and regulations, and New York City, by being a dense urban environment where sharing comes naturally, has become a very high profile platform for some of these fights.

Airbnb is the biggest fight of them all, with rentals being a war game in our teeming city. Every generation that moves into New York City has its own rental stories, and ours is Airnbnb vs NYC.

via Airbnb Vs. New York City: The Defining Fight of the Sharing Economy – Skift.

Hotel Think Tank for Hotel Digital Innovation

The 2013 Digital IQ Index®: Hotels report assesses the digital performance of 48 U.S. Hotel brands in the Economy, Midscale, Upper Midscale, and Upscale categories across the dimensions of Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media and Mobile

via Hotels | L2: A Think Tank for Digital Innovation.