A TripAdvisor deal to place its facilitated-hotel-search offering, TripAdvisor Check Rates, as well as deals from sister Expedia Inc. company BookingBuddy on Yahoo Travel expands TripAdvisor's advertising network, but can't be welcome news for Travelocity or deal-publisher Shermans Travel.
Travelocity powers air, car, hotels and cruises on Yahoo Travel, but has seen its stature on Yahoo Travel diminish over the years. At one point, Yahoo Travel displaced Travelocity as its default for travel search and gave priority instead to Yahoo's metasearch unit, FareChase, until Yahoo shuttered FareChase, as a non-core business, early last year.
Now, Travelocity's air, car, hotel and cruise search appears near the top of the Yahoo Travel homepage, but right beneath it are BookingBuddy deals and a portal into TripAdvisor Check Rates.
From the Yahoo Travel homepage, users can click on destination photos, travel guides and top destinations and land on hotel pages, where they can access TripAdvisor Check Rates. With this offering from TripAdvisor, consumers can check booking engines from multiple online travel agencies -- including, ironically, Travelocity -- and suppliers, with their search engines opening in individual windows.
In another twist, take a look at Travelocity's facilitated search product from its IgoUgo unit:
At the bottom of hotel displays from Travelocity on Yahoo Travel you'll find banner ads from IgoUgo, which look like the following:
Thus, Yahoo Travel features facilitated search from TripAdvisor Check Rates, but also has ads from a competing product, IgoUgo, beneath Travelocity's hotel displays on Yahoo Travel.
Of course, this is not unheard of in the incestuous world of travel marketing, but eyebrow-raising just the same.
In addition, the BookingBuddy deals on the top-right of the Yahoo Travel homepage replace the product that Shermans Travel previously furnished, according to BookingBuddy.
A Yahoo spokeswoman says "the agreement with TripAdvisor does not displace Travelocity," adding that some pages have links to IgoUgo hotel reviews as an additional travel-planning resource for Yahoo Travel visitors.
Both TripAdvisor and BookingBuddy are part of Expedia, and their new prominence on Yahoo Travel is a plus for Expedia Inc.'s advertisers as their reach has now been expanded beyond the 36-million visitor TripAdvisor Media Network.
Yahoo and TripAdvisor wouldn't release details of the new agreement, which began Jan. 1, other than to say that it involves the U.S. market only, and is a revenue-sharing arrangement.