Another online travel agency goes belly-up

Sep 15, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s no secret that there’s a showdown between online travel agencies (OTAs) and their hotel (or airline) competitors. From no-status stays to slashed perks, the relationship between sites like Priceline and hotels is both symbiotic and tense. But what about other OTAs?

Two days ago, Spanish news agency Preferente broke the news that Amoma, one of the final independent online travel agencies, had ceased operations. In a message posted on its site, Amoma blamed noncompetitive ‘price comparators’ for its woes, which give preference to their own listings for booking, as opposed those cheapest or most highly rated.

Prior to its demise, Amoma was the world’s third largest online reservations platform. While the news is certainly problematic for those who have booked reservations with the site, it also begs the question: What is the future of online travel agencies? Now that Amoma is gone, there are few major OTA booking platforms left. Years of consolidation and heavy undercutting has left little room for any but the most aggressive of sites. What’s going to happen now that the pool is shrinking, with heavyweights like Priceline owning most of the market share?

While hoteliers may be pleased to hear about the downfall of Amoma, they’re nowhere near in the clear — sites like Amoma exist using third-party wholesale rooms to offer discounted rates, and now Booking.com has gotten in on the game with Booking.basic. Their goal? Offer the absolute lowest rate possible, even if that requires outsourcing. In essence, the online travel agency has just used the services of, well, another online travel agency.

Is this the future of OTAs? One site after another cannibalizing its sales in order to capture as much of the market as possible? What does that mean for profits, for competition, and for hotel chains themselves? Though hotels are already trying their hardest to steer guests away from these agencies, they’ll be hard-pressed to make a case if the big OTAs are offering rock-bottom, wholesale pricing — even at their own expense.

For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.

Feature photo by Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

WELCOME OFFER: Up to 100,000 bonus miles

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,040

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
  • Earn 3X miles on United® purchases, 2X miles at restaurants, on select streaming services & all other travel, 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.