This article is part one of a two-part story on Expedia.
If you’re not making money from Expedia, it’s possible you’re not using it the right way. The company has been making myriad changes to ensure that its hotel partners have every opportunity to maximize profits from working with the online travel agency.
The company’s executives are keenly aware that for them to continue to have ongoing success, it’s critical for the hotels they work with to also find success. And feel good about it, too. In the hotel business, that means delivering the right customers at the right price.
Expedia has been rolling out tools to make it easier for hoteliers to work with the company and mine more profit.
“We have all sorts of benefits that help our users get the most out of their business, including valuable tools targeting more bookings they specifically want,” said Adam Anderson, managing director, industry relations with Expedia Lodging Partner Services, which operates such well-known sites as Trivago, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Venere.com, Travelocity, Wotif and of course, Expedia. In all, it has about 200 customer-facing sites globally. “We have the tools to target more bookings [our hotel partners] want.”
Take, for example, a need to boost just weekend business. Or, maybe, a property wants business specifically from the UK or a longer length of stay. Anderson said they can help with those very things in ways never done before.
Anderson said smart hoteliers are realizing these sites help create property exposure to customers while also providing another “tool in the toolbox hoteliers want to leverage.”
They’ve also come down in price to the tune of several hundred basis points in a few years, said Anderson, and they love working with the individual hotelier. “We have changed in that respect to be more of a valuable partner,” he said.
To maximize success, Anderson said all hotel pages must have powerful content such as great photos and a clear portrayal of the hotel’s amenities.
Did you know hotel customers can check conversion rates compared to their competitive set? The system will say how many times you are chosen, and if that number falls short, it will not just make suggestions on how to improve the likelihood of getting selected, but also walk you through the process. The feature also tells you if you lost a booking to another hotel and provides an understanding of why you lost it.
“This makes it easy to understand where you are doing well and where you are not. We are providing real-time metrics to how [hotels] perform on the site and give them an opportunity to optimize their business,” Anderson said. “We always want to add ways to add value beyond traditional distribution.”
Another helpful feature is real-time guest feedback. When someone checks into the room, they receive an email broken down to a simple and quick “happy or frown experience” regarding how the room looks, the check-in experience and more. The customer literally clicks a smiley or frowny face.
Anderson said this is a great way to mitigate the reasons behind a potentially negative review. Guests can now say they have a light bulb needing replacement instead of complaining online about it after the fact.
This gives the staff a chance to review feedback about the guest’s check-in experience, their room and the property location while also providing a private reply to a guest in the guest’s preferred language. Information is passed straight to the hotelier, and it’s helping increase review scores, too, said Anderson, noting that there is no charge for this and some other business building products they offer.