Uber became the latest player to enter the OTA space in its pursuit of the "seamless journey" with plans, which they just announced, to add flights, trains and hotels to its app, for the time being in the United Kingdom. This latest attempt to create a travel "superapp", a full-blown OTA mobile app, comes in addition to similar incursions into OTA territory by Airbnb and Hopper, both of which have already added local experiences and contracted with channel managers like SiteMinder, RateGain and RateTiger to enable them to offer hotel bookings. Some hoteliers think that these new OTA-like superapps are good for the industry since they break the duopoly of Expedia and Booking.com. Others are skeptical and believe these moves will further erode the direct online channel.

The question is, is the new crop of OTA-like superapps a threat or an opportunity for hoteliers?

Daniel E. Craig
Daniel E. Craig
Founder, Reknown
Charlie  Osmond
Charlie Osmond
Co-Founder & Chief Tease at Triptease
Tim Peter
Tim Peter
Founder & President, Tim Peter & Associates
Simone Puorto
Simone Puorto
Founder | CEO | Futurist
Max Starkov
Max Starkov
Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant
Frederic Gonzalo
Frederic Gonzalo
Travel & Hospitality expert. Digital Marketing & Strategy Speaker and Consultant
Tina Markowitz
Tina Markowitz
Vice President of Digital Marketing Media & Analytics at Cendyn
Stephanie Sparks Smith
Stephanie Sparks Smith
Founder and Digital Matriarch at Cogwheel Marketing

Hopper is one to watch, but may align more with the demographics of select arms of larger players, like HotelTonite and Kayak. Since they are leaning into social, they seem to target a younger audience. Per PhocusWire in March 2022, "Hopper was the fastest-growing app in 2021, growing 494% and overtaking Airbnb as the leader in market share by monthly active users beginning in June 2021." But, it is hard to tell if people are using mainly for airfare. In the same article, while Uber tries to expand its offerings, it has other competition to watch including Didi, Bolt and Grab. While I would like to see some healthy competition for Expedia and Booking, my concern is they will soon go through an M&A.

Peter O’Connor
Peter O’Connor
Professor of Strategy at University of South Australia Business School
Remy  Merckx
Remy Merckx
Senior Advisor - Head of Travel & Hospitality at eClerx Digital
Linchi Kwok
Linchi Kwok
Associate Professor at The Collins College of Hospitality Management