The current climate of travel booking services

The current climate of travel booking services

Travel booking websites like Airbnb, Priceline, and Booking.com continue to rise in popularity as budget-conscious consumers attempt to save as much as possible on their holidays.

These companies rely on different tactics to attract consumers and get them interested in using their services. However, they all share similar patterns and are mostly used with one purpose in mind: to save money.

Airbnb and the sharing economy

Disrupting the hospitality market was something that few people could have seen coming. The hotel industry has traditionally been very strong and resistant to change but Airbnb has now changed all of that.

People from across 190 countries list their properties on Airbnb. The entire company and its business model are based on the concept of the sharing economy. This concept is based on the idea that people can offer their own things to other people.

That, of course, is an oversimplification of the term. In this case, however, it refers to the fact that people can now rent unused spaces in their homes in order to make money. In turn, consumers can now find much more affordable travel accommodation with a friendlier and more personal approach.

Of course, to accommodate such as ginormous undertaking, Airbnb has an impressive technology stack that includes dozens upon dozens of different services which handle marketing, sales, financial transactions, and more, not to mention a very sophisticated search engine that usually delivers what people are truly looking for.

Metasearch and finding the right deals

Unlike Airbnb, companies like Priceline and Booking.com act more as aggregators than anything else. Booking.com uses what is called a metasearch engine. Essentially, it leverages exiting search engines, aggregates their data, applies its own filters, and presents the world with a number of holiday deals.

The appeal of Booking.com is that it can find hotels, restaurants, rental cars, and flights across thousands of different cities from hundreds of different websites. Thus, its users are almost reassured that they can find the best deal possible.

Not only that but Booking.com also ensures that its users can always find what they are looking for. Even hotels in obscure destinations are not out of reach for the company so users can always turn to it when they cannot find what they are looking for elsewhere.

Priceline is very similar though it also offers different services such as package holidays and cruises. A couple of years back, Priceline acquired metasearch company Kayak which meant that they also acquired all of its technology and talent.

Creating vital competition

When an industry is content with its current standards, it gets complacent and starts charging people more for the services provided. But when people have access to numerous ways of searching and comparing flights, for example, then the airline companies have to respond accordingly.

Search is the foundation on which every one of these services has been built. People need to find what they are looking for, or they will look elsewhere. As such, it is vital that companies like Airbnb and Booking.com can provide their users with exactly what they want.

This is evident in multiple industries which have been disrupted by innovative ideas. Airbnb shook up the hotel industry and Uber did the same for the transportation industry, forcing taxi companies to adapt to new technologies.

Consumers almost always stand to benefit from such competition. Travel booking websites constantly compete with each other which means that they are continuously improving their services in order to attract more clients.

The benefits to the users are obvious. Travelling all around the world is now possible for every budget, as long as users use services like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Priceline in order to find the best deals possible.

A combination of technologies

Companies as huge as these rely on dozens of different platforms, services, and applications. For instance, they need one service to handle payments, another to handle searches, and so forth.

The combination of technologies is at the core of what these businesses do. More often than not, they will also have a host of internal tools that will take care of various tasks in the background or assist with the development process.

One thing they all share in common is that they make things as easy as possible for the consumer. A user will go to any of these websites, enter their search term, and expect appropriate results without too much fluff, which is what they are all attempting to deliver.

Attracting consumers is simple when you benefit them

While every company has its own marketing campaigns, advertisements, and everything else necessary to attract new customers, the truth is that users will always flock to whichever platform benefits them the most.

Of course, marketing does play a vital role. For instance, Airbnb’s Superbowl ad certainly gave it a lot more attention. However, the point is to always improve the services offered so that customers can be satisfied and keep using the service as much as possible.

For instance, if a consumer can choose between getting a slightly cheaper deal at Airbnb but finds the platform extremely inconvenient, then they may turn to a hotel-booking website instead.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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