Airbnb, Google and Agoda Hint at Upcoming Search and Fintech Features

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Executives at Airbnb, google travel, and Agoda separately provided guidance over the past few days about upcoming features on their companies’ wishlists.

They revolved around research and “fintech”.

Airbnb could add more information about the host

President and CEO of Airbnb Brian Chesky told the Skift Global Forum Last week, allowing guests to find additional information about the host, whether that person is a musician or has other attractive traits, could be of great interest.

“There’s a group of people who don’t care much about who the host is, and where the host is maybe a property management company, and who they are, it doesn’t have as much importance,” Chesky said. “But there is probably a much larger group of people who want to stay in a real house. They care who the person is. »

Airbnb recently expanded the categories travelers can use to search for properties, including everything from lakefront homes to A-frames and mansions in surf areas, so the addition of a different way to finding information about the host could be appealing.

The company’s property listings already provide host profiles, including their property’s review count, when they joined Airbnb, whether they’re a Superhost, and brief descriptions. But Airbnb has been criticized for not identifying whether the seemingly individual host might actually work for a corporate property manager, for example.

“What if you could stay with a musician and you could see the structured data on who that person is? Chesky said. “So I think matching people based on their personal attributes, not just properties, is key. »

One of the factors weighing against Airbnb’s greater transparency about hosts is that the company is concerned that more information about hosts will lead to more travelers booking directly with hosts and bypassing Airbnb.

Google could bring back a flight price guarantee

What might be loosely called “fintech” is getting hotter and hotter these days in travel, and beyond. It goes from new payment systems and grab’s lending and wealth management services to Hopper’s air fares and hotel rates are frozen.

Richard Holden, vice president of product management at Google Travel, told the Skift Global Forum audience on Sept. 20 that the the company plans to bring back the flight price guarantee which he tested in 2019, but abandoned during the pandemic.

“It’s something we’re trying to repeat over the next year, which I think is an interesting opportunity,” Holden said. “Consumers really loved it when we experienced it before. And we work a lot on what I would call insights, price information on both the hotel side and the flight side. But I wouldn’t say there’s anything I would deem specific to the fintech we’re announcing at this point. »

Holden appears to make a distinction between fintech services related to banking or investing, and insurance-type features in travel such as price guarantees.

Here’s how Holden described an early iteration of the feature in 2019:

“Where we predict the price will not decrease for certain routes booked between August 13 and September 2, we guarantee that the price will not decrease, and we will refund you the difference if that is the case. We’ll monitor the price for you and if the price drops at any time before departure we’ll send you an email letting you know once your flight has taken off, so there’s no work on your end. This feature is available for select routes departing from the United States with domestic or international destinations.

Agoda launches price freeze and cancellation insurance

Agoda CEO Omri Morgenshtern told TTG Asia that the Booking Holdings brand plans to introduce price freeze and cancellation insurance features in 2023.

It could come from a partnership with Hopper, although none have been announced. Agoda sister company Kayak already has a Hopper partnership.

In short

Better fee disclosure could be coming for airlines and online travel

The United States Department of Transportation proposes that airlines, online travel agencies, offline travel agencies and metasearch engines provide consumers with more comprehensive airfare data, including information on ancillary services and cancellation fees, in the initial search results. Don’t count on that happening anytime soon, as the necessary technological changes would be substantial. Skift

Expedia CEO says online travel has plenty of room for growth

Online travel still only controls a relatively small percentage of the global travel market, so there is plenty of room for future growth. That was Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern’s advice at the Skift Global Forum – and, despite a tough competitive environment – ​​he’s right. Skift

Oyo eyes 2023 IPO, but Softbank cut valuation

Oyo, the India-based operator and distributor of budget hotels and short-term rentals, hopes to go public in 2023, but its softbank boss has reportedly slashed Oyo’s valuation. Like many others, the road has been very difficult for Oyo since 2019. Skift and Skift

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Airbnb, Google and Agoda Hint at Upcoming Search and Fintech Features