Hoteliers question Expedia’s motive for new guest communications portal
June 30, 2016
Some smaller hotels are questioning why Expedia has withdrawn their ability to connect directly with guests booked through the Expedia site prior to their arrival at the property.
Expedia has introduced its ‘Partner Central Conversations’ portal which hoteliers must now use to communicate with guests booked via the site. Hoteliers argue that this has safety implications and say that the system is unworkable if they need to urgently contact the guest at the last moment. Expedia disagrees, arguing that the new portal will provide guests with an “easy-to use means to communicate with their selected property before and after their stay whilst protecting guests’ privacy.”
Expedia’s move follows a strong stand by major hotel groups such as Hilton, Marriott and now IHG promising that members of their loyalty clubs would receive better rates than any OTA could offer.
IHG launched its Lowest Price Promise – a guarantee that guests will get the lowest rates when they book directly with IHG – following a survey it commissioned which reported that 76% of Britons surveyed said they chose to book through price comparison sites because they believed they could guarantee the best rates, with only 12% booking direct.
The moves by the major hotel groups are designed to reinforce that by becoming members of their loyalty programs and by booking direct, guests will gain access to best rates in the market.