Shopping.com continues to make progress on its Hotel category. Users can now compare prices for most hotels, although there are a ton of bugs in the system. I’m really surprised that Shopping.com continues to develop the site publicly without at least stating that the category is in BETA. The company will not yet release any information about its plans (I tried talking with them when I was in SF last week), but I’m sure announcements are coming soon.
Shopping.com seems to have partnered with online travel agencies (OTAs) and reservation networks such as Travelocity and World Choice Travel (Sabre), Lodging.com (Cendant), WorldRes (WRI), and Hotels.com (IAC).
More interestingly, though, Shopping.com also seems to be working with some hotel brands. In this search for the Marriott San Jose (just advance the dates if the results say no rooms available), ‘Shopping.com Hotels’ is listed as a provider. This could mean that Shopping.com is building relationships with hotel brands and will lead shoppers directly to the brand as opposed to an OTA. Brands like this approach because working directly with the customer increases brand loyalty and cuts distribution costs in the long run.
One last note…it looks like Shopping.com is accessing hotel availability information in real-time as opposed to the once per day feed approach the company employs with it’s general merchants.
Again, everything I’ve said is speculation because the company is not commenting. Check out the site for yourself…but be prepared for some interesting bugs.
Enjoy your 4th of July!