It was only a matter of time before the Priceline Group realised there was an opportunity to take on the B2B car rental market.
The company has quietly made a move this week to challenge car rental technology providers with the launch of a dedicated B2B division for its consumer-facing RentalCars brand.
RentalCars had previously worked with a number of partners to provide them with a white label version of the website, but the process has now been formalised with the introduction of RentalCars Connect.
The service has not been officially announced by the Priceline Group, but those behind it will be hitting the trade shows in the coming months with a concerted push to raise its profile.
In short (and mentioned privately by those involved in it), Priceline wants to take on CarTrawler, the Ireland-based car rental technology company which has grown massively in recent years and provides white labels and other tools for a string of online travel agencies, hotel and airline websites.
Those with reasonably long memories will note the irony of the Priceline Group going up against CarTrawler given that it was strongly believed to be considering a bid to buy the company in 2010, but instead opted to acquire UK-based Travel Jigsaw.
Travel Jigsaw eventually evolved to become the consumer-facing brand RentalCars.
RentalCars Connect says it has car rental supply from 28,000 locations around the world, in 9,300 cities. Over 50 airlines are already using the service, the company claims.
CarTrawler claims to have 30,000 locations in 174 countries and currently powers with the likes of Air Lingus, Emirates, Skyscanner, WestJet and AirAsia.
The move to to add a dedicated B2B service to an existing consumer-facing brand mirrors what is happening elsewhere around the Priceline Group, with it pushing B2B tools such as marketing, web design and distribution to hoteliers via a dedicated division within Booking.com.