UPDATE 12 June 2014:
Initial gossip and rumor from Buuteeq HQ: Customer agreements are between Buuteeq and client. Priceline has zero access or interest in hotel data, or at least won’t be allowed any of it. It will keep the model of hands off, like they did with Booking.com. That’s interesting, because they did revolutionize that dying OTA and made it friendlier to hotels than other OTA.
If this goes well… IE not uncontrolled scaling and growth…. this could develop into a very interesting new PMS website build out. It’s about time to have a fully integrated system…. PMS to booking engine to website to GDS, which doesn’t exist yet. Maybe it will… soon.
(I have been frustrated about the radio silence of one of the chattiest hotel brands, and the way this is wholly celebrated in tech blogs without any deference to what will *actually* happen in the long run *for the clients. I am just concerned how quiet it’s been for clients. Saying Money & Resources isn’t enough. I don’t *want* to be alarmist, but there is so very much to think about.)
Priceline is the bad guy, one of our biggest competitors.
Priceline buying Buuteeq: A hero helped hoteliers to escape kidnappers,& like Kafka-esque horror film, we’re being driven back to kidnapper.
— Michael Hraba (@HHotelConsult) June 11, 2014
Frankly, it is one we consider to be extorting us as an archaic middleman whose time has passed. As they lose steam, they are looking for leverage, and now they own 6000 small, boutique hotel websites. Not big brands and flags, but small businesses struggling to survive, families and small groups, who have just been married to what they consider the bane of their existence.
Think about that. Priceline, our competitor, owns all our websites, and presumably the data, that are built on the idea of driving direct bookings to us, not them. The SaaS Cloud model was *ALWAYS* a concern for conservative hoteliers. I know everyone says the cloud is the future… and sure…. for certain things.
We worried about engineered downtime at co-lo’s, etc (slightly), access (a lot), security (massive – from guest credit card info to being on servers with other biz subpeoned / hacked)…
*BUT* we *NEVER* thought there would be a possibility of our opponents being able to access our private datas. I am not saying they will be, but there are so many questions about what just happened, and how it effects clients.
Small, boutique, independent hotels choose buuteeq because it is an affordable option to the privately owned server, $40,000 built out website, etc… but like I said, we always had reservations about now owning the site. I am glad, because now I see why.
I am not jumping the gun… Buuteeq is an incredibly active brand online, on all channels… and I consider Forest and a number of people there quite good friends. VERY. I am happy for them, and we have two hotels running on their platform.
But they have gone absolutely radio silent, and if it’s champagne at the expense of clients, sitting here, wondering what the hell is going on… I am saddened. I really, *really* trust these guys, but I saw what Micros did to T.I.G. If you don’t know about it, then you aren’t in our industry, and again, that’s a problem…. because you will have a total disconnect of why we will be so very, very skeptical of this.
There’s absolutely no reason in any way the hotel industry should have faith in this, unless they start assuaging the absolutely legitimate fears we have, as this is celebrated in tech blogs.
I made a funny, on the twitter… I hope it’s appreciated. I hope I don’t sound like Chicken Little…. The Micros / TIG perspective is absolutely appropriate. Will we all be lost to rotating 22 year old account reps as your spiraling growth attempts to take over the world, while Priceline mines private data for leverage?