Convergence. The indiscriminate force of nature shaping online travel, like the river that shapes a canyon. Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and Google. They all do a bunch of stuff. Booking probably does hotels better. Expedia does flights better. TripAdvisor does reviews and activities better. Google does most of those things pretty good. They are the multi-tools of online travel.
Convergence is a well-studied law of technological evolution. Smartphones smashed voice, email, web, banking, and video into one awesome multi-tool. What happened to the alarm clock, home phone, DVD player, CD player, and bank teller? Poof.
Why is Booking scrambling to get into rentals, transport, and activities? Why is Expedia Group unifying its brand portfolio? Why is TripAdvisor building moats around its activities business? Why is Trivago dead in the water? Will Airbnb ever do flights?
Competing as a multi-tool is hard. Having the sharpest blade is probably the most important. But who wants a crappy corkscrew? If you can't be good at everything that you do, then take care when competing as a multi-tool.
Google is an exception. It has the reach to be good at some things and crappy at others. Unlucky for the rest, Google is pretty good at everything.
Hotel Tonight has the right formula. Hotel Tonight is the best, sharpest tool in the shed for same-day bookings.
The problem with the rest is that you only really need one good multi-tool. TripAdvisor is the closest thing. Google is on another level. Booking and Expedia are more like assorted tool boxes. That will change.
Definition of convergence: Merriam-Webster
1: the act of converging and especially moving toward union or uniformity | the convergence of the three rivers; especially : coordinated movement of the two eyes so that the image of a single point is formed on corresponding retinal areas
2: the state or property of being convergent
3: independent development of similar characters (as of bodily structure of unrelated organisms or cultural traits) often associated with similarity of habits or environment
4: the merging of distinct technologies, industries, or devices into a unified whole
- … offers a variety of services related to the convergence of the Internet and mobile phones - Rob Walker
The Four Dimensions of Travel
TripAdvisor's transformation by the numbers
The AdTech Evolution
The weekly round-up for savvy travel leaders.