In what seems to be a push against the growing number of vacation rental all-in-one sites, TripAdvisor recently announced a sizable partnership with Marriott International that raised its share nearly 14 percent on June 17.
Online travel agencies like Booking.com and HomeAway have been taking full advantage of the uptick in both business and leisure travel, and TripAdvisor is now staking a bigger claim to the hotel industry just about a year after it officially launched its Instant Booking tool.
The agreement will bring 4,200 Marriott brand hotel rooms to TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking platform, so that visitors can reserve a hotel without even leaving the website. Marriott’s portfolio of 19 brand hotels will be featured on the tool starting later this summer.
Shafiq Khan, senior vice president of channel strategy and distribution at Marriott International Inc., said in a press release: “The result is mutually beneficial to both partners from a strategic and economic standpoint.
“The agreement also maintains our ability to control where the rates and inventory for Marriott’s hotels are displayed. Our partnership will continue to enable us to offer the best benefits, such as Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards points to our customers who choose to book directly on our channels, including Marriott.com.”
Because it seems as though Marriott travelers who do not book directly within the platform won’t receive loyalty points, the partnership seems to lean slightly more in favor of Marriott.
The increased presence of Marriott hotels may help to drive traffic to the company’s websites and help to overcome the popularity of sites like Airbnb, which offers more rooms than several of the largest hotel chains — including Marriott.
A Barclay’s report about whether Airbnb will overcome hotel booking rates predicted that by the end of 2015, the number of people booking through Airbnb would triple. However, recent regulation may have skewed that forecast.
Marriott currently doesn’t get a lot of reservations through online travel agencies, and the majority of its bookings are with business travelers. The partnership, as stated by Stephen Kaufer, president and CEO of TripAdvisor, is an “opportunity for Marriott to expand its relationship with guests before, during and after the trip.”
The statement begs the question whether the partnership, which isn’t TripAdvisor’s first with a hotel, could play a role in the ratings and reviews feature of the site.
It will very likely boost the number of reviews. After partnering with TripAdvisor, Best Western hotels saw a 76 percent growth in the number of reviews on its website. This helped to boost the average rating of a hotel room from 3.98 to 4.28 out of 5.0.
Eyes will be on TripAdvisor following this announcement as well as the growth of the Marriott brand.