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Marriott: we probably won’t use .hotel

Kevin Murphy, November 3, 2011, 21:39:45 (UTC), Domain Registries

Could .hotel be the next .travel?

That’s one view that emerged from a conference organized by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse discussing ICANN’s new generic top-level domains program earlier this week.

“We think .hotel will launch,” Elizabeth Escobar, a senior IP lawyer with the hotel chain Marriott, said during one session at What’s At Stake on Tuesday. “We will probably blanket .hotel with a slew of defensive registrations most of which, like .travel, we will never use.”

Does she have a point?

The most prominent .hotel applicant, Luxembourg-based DotHotel, is backed by the International Hotel & Restaurant Association, suggesting that the concept does enjoy some support.

.travelBut restricted gTLD have performed poorly in the past. The .travel space, which launched in 2006, is generally regarded as having failed to live up to expectations.

It’s currently a 26,000-domain gTLD, and has only ever topped 50,000 domains under management due to a desperate, experimental foray into pay-per-click speculation.

It’s barely making enough money to fulfill its financial commitments to former owner TheGlobe.com, which acquired the original registry, Tralliance, during the later stages of its own death rattle, before .travel ever had a chance to execute.

But its lackluster performance is also no doubt also a result of its restrictive registration policies, which may well be mimicked by a .hotel gTLD approved next year, and its lack of channel adoption.

Could a .hotel succeed, where .travel has (so far) failed, if leading hotel chains see it purely as a defensive play?

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Comments (6)

  1. Tom Barrett says:

    New gTLD’s aimed at vertical indstries like .Hotel will not appeal to well-known trademarks. They don’t need it.

    But they will appeal to millions of unknown businesses in the space.

    I also think that .travel will see a resurgence when new TLD’s come out.

    Tom Barrett
    EnCirca

    • Andy says:

      Tom, I’m not sure I fully agree with your assertions that new gTLDs aimed at vertical industries won’t appeal to well-known trademarks, and that they don’t need it…or at least feel its extremely broad and perhaps premature.

      As a matter of purely registering domain names for their brand names (TM, SMs, etc.), if only perceived as a cost center for defensive registration purposes, then yes, this is a fair assertion, both today and in the future.

      What we don’t know yet, and may not know fully until “vertical gTLDs” are actually delegated and launched, is how any of these will operate new types of registry business models and services that will be valued by credible business and use cases by registrants in their respective vertical markets. And should a registrant use a new vertical gTLD to launch what becomes an extremely popular destination for which trademarked brands can use to create awareness of their marks, sell products/services, and connect with target audiences, I’m sure there will be appeal for top brands to take part in that success.

      Where I would more closely agree with your assertion is if the new gTLD took a “community” approach as ICANN defines and introduced a cost-prohibitive and registry services that couldn’t clearly demonstrate and deliver value to the restricted community of registrants they intend to serve.

      Notably, the Marriott position on .hotel comes from their IP attorney. Regardless of all of the hoopla from CADNA, there are likely dozens of marketing folks within the Marriott ecosystem who might very well disagree and actually be the ones who help them prove there is value and benefit beyond defensive registrations.

      One thing is for sure, it will be quite interesting to see new gTLD models emerge for vertical industries. Any of them failing isn’t good for any one specific vertical.

  2. TAG says:

    I get search hits for it every day. It is also one of the top pre-regs at uniteddomains.

    It could appeal to geos, smaller establishments, and informational sites, affiliates

  3. Jean Guillon says:

    .travel can’t be compared to .hotel.
    “hotel” is precise, “travel” is global.

    I would not risk myself talking too fast because the next step, once new gTLDs are launched, is search engine indexing.

    And if I was a hotel…

  4. Mazamitla says:

    I try different domain extensions, after .com .travel positions very good in Google

  5. Rob says:

    EnCirca thinks .travel will make a comeback, eh?

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

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