Marriott Preparing To Battle Expedia, Priceline With New Starwood Assets

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen

With online travel agency options whittled down following the $1.6 billion Orbitz-Expedia merger in 2015, and hotels already offering customers perks for ditching the third-party travel sites, it might be hard to imagine the rivalry between the likes of Expedia, Priceline, and major hotels could get more contentious. But it apparently can, and is about be thanks, in part, to the completion of a mega-hotel merger between Marriott and Starwood Resorts. 

Online travel sites, like Priceline and Expedia, have reportedly countered hotel chains’ offered perks for booking directly with them, by pushing major brands lower in search results, Bloomberg reports.

The move has Marriott prepared to use its newly acquired muscle — all 1.1 million rooms of it — to push back, and reduce the hold third-party booking sites have over customers.

“Regaining control of our inventory is absolutely critical,” Robert Finvarb, who owns Marriotts in and around Miami, tells Bloomberg.

Recapturing some of that booking power will allow Marriott and its brands to acquire more customer data — information that doesn’t always make it to actual hotels when booking is done through third-party sites.

This data, Bloomberg reports, provides hotels with details about guest habits and spending patterns, giving chains the ability to tailor their services and target customers better.

An official for Expedia appeared to brush off any kind of pressure from hotel chains, noting that anytime a hotel pushes direct booking, it’s essentially competing against itself.

“We’re not seeing these efforts as changing consumer behavior much,” Cyril Ranque, president of lodging partner services for Expedia, tells Bloomberg.

Marriott Is Using Its Muscle to Fight Off Expedia and Priceline [Bloomberg]