Wednesday, 5 June 2013

NEWS: Priceline’s CEO questions long-term viability of online hotel booking startups

Are Room 77 and HotelTonight different enough from their competitors to make it as  successful businesses in the long term?

Skift recently took a look at Room 77′s differentiation and the growing ranks of HotelTonight’s competitors, and Priceline CEO Jeffery Boyd separately chimed in on the issue yesterday during a presentation at the Goldman Sachs Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant and Leisure Conference at New York City University.

Boyd fielded a question about his take on the slew of travel startups, including Hotel Tonight, Room 77, and Hipmunk, and his answer focused on HotelTonight and Room 77.

In essence, Boyd argued that despite their original visions, both Hotel Tonight and Room77  are turning into hotel metasearch companies, and they might not be unique enough to justify the “substantial investment” that would be required to compete with larger metasearch businesses such as Priceline’s Kayak and Expedia-controlled Trivago.

“There is a lot of metasearch out there,” Boyd said. “To me, that is the question about those businesses [HotelTonight and Room 77].”

Boyd said HotelTonight and Room 77 are “very small right now,” and the only way they will make it is through substantial investment, with the implication being that it would take a lot more funding than the roughly $35 million and $43.8 million, respectively, that HotelTonight and Room 77 have raised.

For more