What a difference a few weeks can make - Airbnb was once a big threat to hotels, yet now all the attention is on its emergence as a competitor to online travel agencies.
This battle is of its own doing, having announced its entry into hotel distribution with a bunch of remarks about its new competitors being the giants of the intermediaries, Booking.com and Expedia.
The boss of Booking.com parent company Booking Holdings, Glenn Fogel, was fairly lukewarm about the supposed threat in his responses in a recent call with analysts, but inevitably the questions are coming thick and fast about this apparent new world that the company now finds itself in.
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Speaking during a session hosted by Phocuswright founder Philip Wolf at the ITB exhibition in Berlin this week, Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans is more outspoken about its challenger in the world of private accommodation.
"We are in it to win this category," she says, pointing out that every property it lists in the private accommodation sector is instantly bookable, compared to Airbnb, which is somewhere in the region of 2.1 million out of a total of 4.5 million.
Listening to customers
It's not a new segment to the company, she explains, but there is a lot of demand from its user base for the fast-growing segment of private accommodation.
So, getting the supply of content (it currently has around one million properties) is "becoming more important to us," she explains.
As well as getting the ongoing strategy right, Holland-based Booking.com has no desire to copy from the upstart over on the West Coast of the United States.
"We do not want to build an Airbnb within Booking.com," Tans says during the interview.
Hear from both Booking.com and Airbnb in one place
In fact, she claims, Booking.com still tries to behave like a startup itself, despite having thousands of employees (Tans was one of the first 10 when she joined in 2002, three years before it was acquired by the Booking Holdings under its previous name of Priceline Group).
"We wanted to challenge the status quo" in the early days to shake things up in the online travel agencies landscape, she says.
The company believes it still has a role to "make lives easier" for those looking to find and book accommodation.
As an aside, Tans says the company is testing how customers interact with the new services that were recently added to the top of the site (links to packages, flights, restaurants, etc.) and does not rule out launching full functionality in the future.
If the company sees that the integration works for users, then it would consider introducing such services, she adds.