Industry Insights

The Pulse of the Ecosystem: May 2022

June 06, 2022 |

Welcome to our latest installment of the Pulse of the Ecosystem, our monthly recap of the biggest events that shaped our industry over the last month and how they impact the current and future state of the ecosystem. 

Let’s dive right in. 

Re-learning the Rules of Relaxation: Continued Recovery for OTAs

As the world learns to adapt to new normals and pandemic rules continue to relax, it seems that guests are doing the same. Vacations are back on the rise, and revenue is soaring higher than ever. In fact, the first quarter of this year had seen Airbnb bookings rise to 80% higher than the same period three years ago, eleven months before a pandemic was even in the public consciousness. 

  • In the first quarter of 2022, Airbnb’s revenue hit $1.5bn for the first time in its history—an increase of 70% year-on-year.
  • Expedia saw gross bookings for Q1 of 2022 of $24bn—an increase of 58% versus Q1 2021.
  • At Booking.com, room nights booked in Q1 2022 were double that of a year earlier (198 million compared to 99 million).

Property Management Companies: 

  • Sonder’s revenue hit $80.5 million in Q1—a 155% increase from 2021, fueled by RevPAR and live unit growth. 
  • GBV (Gross Booking Volume) for Vacasa more than doubled from Q1 2021 to 2022, with more than 1.3 million nights sold in Q1. 

Peace of Mind with New Features for OTAs

The major OTAs have made some significant changes to keep guests’ minds at ease and encourage travel despite recent economic and geopolitical tremors. From ’backup’ accommodation if hosts cancel to options for carbon offsetting, we’re looking at a further shift toward more reassurance for guests and eco-conscious travel.

Airbnb:

  • Airbnb Categories: Guests can now browse 56 different categories of homes based on style, location, or proximity to travel activity.
  • Airbnb Split Stays: Addresses the growing demand for longer stays with a feature that splits bookings of longer than a week and up to six months between two properties.
  • AirCover for Guests: Guests will now be offered a similar home or a full refund if the host cancels within 30 days of check-in, if the guest can’t check in to the property, or if the property is not as advertised. 

Expedia:

  • Hotels booked via Expedia will now receive a guest experience score impacting their visibility.
  • The company launched its new unified loyalty program (“One Key”) across all of Expedia Group’s brands for any travel product, designed to create connectivity across brands and establish long-term customer loyalty. 
  • Trip planning: 3 new features designed to boost confidence in the travel shopping and booking experience; ‘Trip Boards’, ‘Smart Shopping’, and ‘Price Tracking’.
  • Expedia Group Open World: New tech platform to enable partners to configure products and services by using personalized building blocks like payments, fraud, conversations, and service. 

Mergers and Acquisitions

We saw two significant mergers this period, including the rapidly expanding Oyo, which continues to cement its place as a key player in the industry.

  • Full-stack vacation homes provider, Oyo, has now acquired Croatia-headquartered Direct Booker, which has more than 3,200 homes. Oyo currently offers fully-managed private homes across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Nordic, and Southern European countries.
  • Argentina-based Despegar has acquired Viajanet, a competitor based in Brazil, for $15m.

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