allhotels is emerging as Travelocity's answer to Priceline's Booking.com and Expedia's Venere.
allhotels, which Travelocity picked up in its 2005 acquisition of lastminute.com, has been redesigned and it's now using the retail model to go after the hotel-only crowd in Europe, Latin America, the U.S. and Asia.
The hotel-only website now bypasses the GDS for inventory and establishes relationships directly with channel managers and independent hotels.
With allhotels no longer paying a heavy GDS-booking-fee tab, it can earn higher commission margins and has more flexibility as it seeks rapidly to sign on new hotel partners in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Unlike with the merchant model, consumers booking hotels with allhotels pay no booking fees and the hotel charges their credit cards only at check-in or checkout, depending on each property's policy.
And, as market leader Booking.com and Venere, too, have learned, it's much faster and takes fewer resources to get non-chain hotels up and running with the retail model than the merchant model.
Travelocity declined an extensive interview about allhotels, but spokesman Joel Frey says "we’ve cleaned up the interface and rolled it out in some countries outside of Europe."
In addition to websites in the U.K., Spain and the U.S, allhotels has a heavy presence in Latin America -- Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela -- and is opening a door into Asia, with sites in India and Singapore.
Travelocity continues to add hotel partners in Europe through its flagship lastminute.com brand, but it hopes to be fleet of foot with allhotels.com using the retail model.
Travelocity has no illusions about allhotels taking the hotel industry by storm.
Officials speak in respectful tones about Booking.com's relative dominance in Europe.
Although Travelocity is getting a late start with its revamped allhotels in Europe and Asia, the thinking is that the hotel market is so large that there is plenty of room for a second or third player.
And, perhaps Travelocity sees Latin America as a region where it can be a real force.