Online Travel Update: Jury finds that Saber did not unreasonably restrict trade and that US Air was entitled to damages of just $1.00 and Marriott launches Marriott Media Network | Foster Garvey PC

Last week’s update continues the theme of delivering updates on several lesser-known distribution platforms – this week we’re introducing Despegar’s Latin American distributor and Central and Eastern European distributor Szallas Group. Enjoy.

The jury upheld US Air’s claim that Saber has monopolized the airline booking industry, but…
(“Saber Unlawfully Monopolizes Airline Booking Market, But US Airways Gets Only $1 Compensation, US Jury Finds”, May 19, 2022, via MLEX Insight) (subscription may be required)
Last week, a New York federal court jury found that Saber used injunctive action to maintain its monopoly in air travel to the detriment of US Air BUT (and this is a big BUT) the jury also found that Saber did not unreasonably restrict trade and that US Air was only entitled to US$1 in compensation. As a reminder, this was the second lawsuit in this case, and the first lawsuit against Saber resulted in an award of $15 million. The original decision was overturned on appeal following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on similar two-way platforms (both supplier and travel agent facing). What this decision and the $1.00 reward could mean for Saber (or those airlines or hotel suppliers currently contracting with Saber) in the future is unknown.

Marriott launches Marriott Media Network
(“Marriott Partners with Yahoo to Build Marriott Media Network,” May 16, 2022, Lodging Magazine)
Marriott has made headlines in the travel industry with the launch (in partnership with Yahoo) of the Marriott Media Network. The network will provide third-party brand advertisers with access to Marriott guests throughout their journey (booking, pre-stay and during stay) across all Marriott-owned channels – display advertising, email, in-room mobile entertainment, etc. Yahoo will provide partnership both supply (access to and activation of various channels) and demand (advertisers seeking to sell and promote their products and services) and resources. In this post-cookie world, Marriott’s decision to open up its own channels to third-party advertisers (and thus allow them to leverage Marriott’s existing relationship with famous travelers) could provide advertisers in the travel industry with a powerful new alternative.

Other news:

Despegar reports second-quarter profitability as demand recovers
May 20, 2022 via Phocus Wire
Latin American online travel company Despegar posts a second consecutive positive quarter with Adjusted EBITDA of $12.3 million for the period ended March 31, 2022.

How Sallas created a powerful OTA network in Central and Eastern Europe
April 20, 2022 via Skift (subscription may be required)
The travel industry is optimistic about 2022, looking to capitalize on strong demand. Against this backdrop, the Central and Eastern European market is rife with potential. Home to over 100 million people, it is by no means homogeneous. Players in the region have to work in several…

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