Let’s talk booking.com, its acquisition of Etraveli Group and what that means for the industry at large.

Booking.com logo at head office

With the distribution chokehold that booking.com has on the Accommodation booking market, what does this mean for Online Travel Agencies and any other Flight Wholesalers, Travel Distributors, D2C Accommodation Booking businesses and the like, once their acquisition of eTraveli goes through.

CEO, Glenn Fogel recently spoke on the “Fight for every customer,” at the 2023 Skift Global Forum and cited that this is Booking.com’s way of entering the flight business and expanding the platform’s market share through this new venture.

Meantime, at the same Forum, in a separate discussion, we have Brad Gerstner, the founder and CEO of Altimeter, a tech investment firm,  and Jason Calacanis, a tech entrepreneur and investor, discuss how generative AI will change the nature of travel, the landscape of how travel will be booked, the power of voice and the seamless integration of these functions with the help of Software development and more. It is when Brad Gerstner stated that there are already startups geared towards travel technology going into Series A & B funding and finding an audience with Sillicon Valley that my interest was peaked. This may not have been unbeknownst to us but, perhaps, in our naivety, we thought it in its more primitive stages rather than at the precipice of something immediately tangible.

In Silos, this may seem innocuous but when placed in tandem with one another, and under a magnifying glass to boot, this is an interesting combination.

Let’s, for a moment, suppose that Glenn has considered generative AI and its uses in garnering market share. Then, let’s consider if this were to be married with voice. And then, for giggles, let’s put this melting pot of functions into the perfect recipe and add Booking.com distribution and potential RND budget geared towards this initiative.

I suddenly broke out into hives because without being facetious, what could this mean for the Travel Booking landscape over the coming 6-18 months if this were to come to fruition; which, no doubt, is already underway. AND How far behind are you from this race? And that’s really if you are only looking at the short game. Long term, this is a play that offers the perfect anecdotal evidence of the giant leaps organisations can take at the intersection of travel and technology and the potential reconfiguration of an industry right before our eyes.

See you all at the conference.

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