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Expedia’s response to the TripAdvisor-Priceline offer? Direct hotel booking on Trivago

Skift grip

Expedia is concerned that Booking.com’s booking partnership with TripAdvisor is hurting Expedia’s traffic from TripAdvisor. Expedia’s answer for now is that Trivago is taking hotel reservations. Not a great answer just yet, but it’s a start. And Expedia may forge a booking partnership with Google in the future.

Dennis Schaal, Skift

Expedia Inc. has a response to TripAdvisor’s successful booking partnership with the Priceline Group. Similar to TripAdvisor Instant Booking, Expedia-owned Trivago has launched hotel reservations on its site and app in Germany, and plans to expand to English-speaking countries.

That’s the word from Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who acknowledged concerns over heightened ties between rivals TripAdvisor and the Priceline Group during Expedia’s third quarter earnings call today.

Metasearch sites such as Trivago and TripAdvisor traditionally show hotel deals from hotels themselves and online travel agencies, but send consumers to the hotels’ and online travel agencies’ websites to make reservations. .

But TripAdvisor, and now Trivago, take bookings directly through their own sites in partnership with hotels and online travel agencies. They also do the traditional metasearch that they have been doing for years.

Around 90% of Trivago’s desktop traffic and half of its app users in Germany can now participate in these on-site and in-app bookings.

Khosrowshahi conceded that TripAdvisor’s booking partnership with the Priceline Group, including Booking.com, Priceline.com and Agoda, was “not a positive development” for Expedia and could hurt TripAdvisor’s Expedia volumes. He added, however, that TripAdvisor, while an important distribution channel for Expedia, is a low-margin channel.

In addition to Trivago, Google tests hotel reservations on its search pages and in Google Maps. This might make it clearer to consumers that they would book a hotel on Google, but Expedia would be the merchant of record and provide customer service.

Khosrowshahi said data gathered by Expedia during Book on Google testing and consumer feedback will determine whether Expedia will ultimately participate in Book on Google.

He also left the door open for Expedia to potentially join the Book on TripAdvisor program.

Skift reported earlier this week that TripAdvisor intends to give partners some flexibility in how they brand themselves when participating in TripAdvisor Instant Booking.

Khosrowshahi said improved branding within TripAdvisor Instant Booking could be a positive development. Expedia is engaged in a dialogue with TripAdvisor and may always review whether or not to join TripAdvisor Instant Booking, he added.

Regarding Trivago’s new booking initiative, Khosrowshahi said various Expedia brands are participating as booking partners in Germany.

Meanwhile, Khosrowshahi said Expedia is aggressively investing in Trivago, which “has been very strategic for us.”

Trivago revenue increased 27% in the third quarter, year over year, to $176 million.

Khosrowshahi said Trivago could easily become a profitable business, but is currently focused on growth.