Booking.com is launching new professional features at the same time it is withdrawing from the Google Vacation Rental platform. Google adds a new search option for vacation rentals, and Chinese Airbnb Sweetome wants to expand to European markets.
Booking.com wants to drive more short-term rental businesses and stop working with Google
The digital travel platform has just launched new features for professionals working in the short-term rental industry. At the same time, it is withdrawing from the Google Vacation platform. The features were made for “professional short-term rental partners” so that they “can deliver more great stay experiences to the ever-expanding set of travelers booking alternative accommodations”.
As 43% of travelers are likely to make a reservation in the short-term rental market, Booking.com extends to new types of accommodation. The online platform aims at driving new kinds of accommodation to become an incomparable showcase of what can be found in the accommodation industry.
The latest features are a “Group Opportunity Center” (a benchmark tool for professionals), new tools to connect with your team or with a customer in case of need (management, damage deposits…), additions for professionnals (like a “host score”, an “external review score”, hihtligths of special facilities like keyless check-in…), a Quality Rating System (which is “similar to that of traditional hotel star ratings, based on your property’s location, size and facilities”) and the last but not least, an “Advisory Board”, which is sort of an online free coaching offer to help Booking.com’ partners.
About the evolution of the offering to professional short-term rental partners, Olivier Grémillon, Vice President of Global Segments said:
Since last year (…) we have engaged in active conversation with our short-term rental partners to identify ways the short-term rental industry can continue to respond to increasing traveler expectations and an ever-growing appetite for exploration,” said Grémillon. “This meaningful dialogue has not only strengthened our relationships and partnerships with the short-term rental industry, but is actually helping to push the industry forward, as we see our partners’ input helping to shape the future of travel. Particularly as homes, apartments and other unique places to stay continue to grow faster as a category than traditional segments, it is exciting to look ahead to see what is next in our partnership, as there is so much potential to grow together.
As Booking Holdings is strengthening its relationships with businesses, it is also withdrawing from Google Vacation Rentals through Agoda which has been present on the search engine for the past six months. This move comes right after Google announced a new vacation rental feature.
Google adds a new search option for vacation rentals
Indeed, Google Trips now includes a feature specifically designed for the houses and apartments rental offer. The Mountain View company added a new accommodation category in the digital platform, next to Hotels: “holiday rentals”. The results are showing up before online travel agencies results such as Airbnb, Booking.com or HomeAway.
The new addition presents a selection of apartments and houses available for short-term rent. They feature rates, photos, opinions and location within Google Maps. And of course, they come before OTA’s organic results.
The new option is actually a way to build up the Google Trips platform, to make it an online travel agency as the other booking platforms in the near future, since the customer can book directly on Google. Google Trips has become a one-stop shopping hub, where you can book flights as well as accommodation at the same place.
Sweetome Group creates Filia Estates to arrive in Europe
After Australia, Canada, the US, Cambodia, and Thailand, the Chinese version of Airbnb created in 2011 is now looking towards Europe for its next expansion. The company covering 280 destinations and encountering for more than 56,000 units, has just signed a new agreement with the Greek property developer Filia Group. This cooperation comes with a new joint-venture to accelerate Sweetome’s development on European vacation rental markets: Filia Estates.
The new company will set foot on European soil by entering Greek market. There, it will provide basic services such as housekeeping, rental management or maintenance for hosts (owners of the apartments / houses). It will also enable guests to share their experience to help Chinese travelers plan their trip to Greece.
As the number of Chinese tourists in Greece is expected to double this year, Adonis Georgiadis, Greece's minister of development and investments, said that China has become one of the key markets for the country. Forecasts say that Chinese travelers in Greece might even reach 500K next year, compared to 180K last year.