Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Priceline to launch "" is no more - no it hasnt gone bust. It has shed its name in favour of Priceline stable mate is reporting that they now have a common business model. It also says that the locations will remain separate and
"its websites will continue to be marketed with differentiated products".
The change is yet to make the front page of (at publications date).

I don't understand how Priceline plan to make this work. I have praised in the past their integration work and they have enjoyed the results with huge growth in online hotels sales in Europe. However it can only be a mistake to assume that you can market the same brand [] to different customers with differentiated products. The only way to try and do this is that I can think of is to have different product or pricing depending on where a customer comes from (either by country or marketing channel). That never works online - as I have said before. Will have to wait for the site launch to see if Priceline can make this work - but I fear for them. Sounds like the word "synergy" and "costs savings" have been overly used across the board-rooms of Priceline Europe.

UPDATE - found an interview with Adrian Currie - Priceline CFO - from ITB in October. Talks about ActiveHotels and Bookings in Europe. Talks of successful integration but no mention of killing the Active Brand.

UPDATE 2 - in the Q4 2006 earnings call the CEO of Priceline Jeff Boyd talked more about the plans for the ActiveHotels brand in Europe. There is no intention of killing off the brand - rather the marketing focus will go behind the Bookings brand. I think that is a good balance. Would continue to caution against making the products inter-changeable to avoid the problems that best Expedia and when they first began to work on common inventory pools. But there does come a point when you have to balance the cost of marketing against the potential cannibalisation.


Anonymous said...

" I fear for them "

What else keep you up at night ?

Tim Hughes said...

Just that and world hunger...ok maybe a less dramatic word was needed

Anonymous said...

passion, never appologize for that