I read today about the Nigerian startup Hotels.ng and my first thought was why Hotels.com didn’t already own the Nigerian country code.
After all, Hotels.com owns country codes for France and Italy and Japan, among others.
But was apparently late to registering country codes for Germany and Netherlands — as well as Nigeria (Africa’s most populous country).
Now, in Hotels.com’s defense, its global brand is “com.” And its global gateway strategy is intended to reinforce this fact; country codes are used as redirects only.
I should also note that Hotels.com finished in the top 10 in this year’s Web Globalization Report Card.
Nevertheless, I’m not convinced that .com is the best global strategy — particularly in emerging markets, where country codes are strong indicators of local companies.
For large multinationals, ccTLDs are trivial expenses, even if you have no short-term plans for using them. Speaking of, the ccTLD for Hotels.bw (Botswana) is for sale for roughly $2,000.
Which leads me to wonder who is going to register the new generic top-level domain .hotels.
This seems like a natural fit for Hotels.com, and yet Booking.com has applied for it (although the application status is on hold).
PS: I recently completed a book (review coming) that talks about the threat that emerging market companies post to established multinationals. I wonder if this is one such future case study.