Insight Bite: Airbnb’s advances in adtech signal more M&A ahead for industry

Private room rentals giant Airbnb has announced a deal to buy AdBasis, a small adtech startup which has developed its own platform for ad testing and optimisation.

Chicago outfit AdBasis’s platform tracks how changes to an ad in terms of content and targeting affects its performance, and it can also track revenue. The data is used to create recommendations for how to spend advertising budgets. AdBasis will stop working with its current customers as of February of next year, focusing solely on developing tools for Airbnb. Reports say that Airbnb is only planning to use the product in-house and will not be providing it as a service to anyone else.  

The move makes sense as Airbnb has been expanding its affiliate partnership scheme in recent months. As the former giants of the hotel booking industry – Expedia and Priceline – announced they would be launching Airbnb-style private listings, Airbnb has responded by launching a new affiliate partners initiative for high-traffic sites. The idea is that Airbnb will get commissions if properties are booked via these partner links. Airbnb has also developed an API for app developers to use in a similar manner. The AdBasis technology could presumably be used to measure the progress of these initiatives.

As we noted in a recent Insight Bite, Airbnb has announced its intent to become an “experience” engine in a move that has triggered competitors such as Skyscanner to start buying up companies that can expand their offerings beyond the basics. To that end, Airbnb itself also announced a second acquisition on the same day as its AdBasis deal: Accomable will now be part of Airbnb, adding its expertise in servicing the needs of disabled people. London-based Accomable will wind down its own service and instead work on building out the Airbnb platform to include a wider community of hosts who can accommodate disabled visitors.

This recent flurry of deals shows that competition in the travel industry has never been steeper. The contenders are getting creative, not just about the services they offer but also in terms of how they make money and monitor progress. Smaller players in adtech who’re looking for an exit could find themselves in line for a very happy new year.

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