Thursday, April 26, 2007

Priceline here, Priceline there, Priceline everywhere....well..almost

Announcement today that accommodation powerhouse and Priceline subsidiary has opened offices in Cape Town, Munich, Warsaw and Dubai. Should be and is a great story. A company that invented a new model in the US and struggled for a long time yet made two very smart acquisitions in Europe is expanding further. All good right? This makes for offices in Cape Town, Munich, Warsaw, Dubai, UK, Holland, US (of course), Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Cambridge, Dublin, London, Loulé, Lyon, Norwalk (USA), Paris, Rome and Vienna. It should sound like a list of all of the best places in the world for an online hotel provider to be. However there is a huge part of the planet missing from this list and you do not get a special prize for guessing where.

Where are the people focused on Australia, China, Japan, India, Korea, SE Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore an more. All of these countries are booming for online travel. Should you should be nervous if you are a Priceline exec in missing these markets? Surely they were were "boom fodder" markets in 2000 (places where stupid money was spend with no return) and therefore should be ignored. However each has subsequently proven itself as a destination and source for significant online travel potential. Especially in hotel only. In each of those Asian markets the number one online intemediary is a hotel only provider.

Congrats to Priceline for its expansion. With 11 million room nights a year they are a player in every market - in Europe they are a powerhouse. However there is space, profit, opportunity etc in Asia Pacific that they (and others) are missing by focusing expansion efforts in only in an easterly direction of Europe.

1 comment:

ram said...

absolutely tim..I read about your move to Stella. Huge task and huge opportunity. You are bang on on all markets about lodging being the driver except India where it is rail and air all the way. Lodging is severely constrained and inbound travel takes in a lot of capacity.

I am looking forward to catching up with you