June 15, 2018


What Don't You Know - Click to Show Image

"You don't know what you don't know until you know it."

Need to Know News is intended to educate members of the lodging industry who understand the value of being aware of changes that can affect their ongoing digital marketing strategy.

Today's topic is brought to you from PAII - Professional Association of Innkeepers International


What happens when a potential guest visits your inn's listing on Expedia?

If it is some version of "rooms are unavailable for your trip dates on Expedia" - regardless of what dates are entered - please read on.

If you don't know, or are unsure, we encourage you to read on...

*Expedia, Hotels.com, Orvitz and Travelocity; we'll use "Expedia" to include all of the aforementioned.

A class action suit has been initiated by a group of small hotels represented by the law firm of Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP (Washington DC). The defendants are Expedia, Hotels.com, Orvitz and Travelocity.

The firm's lead attorney, Joel Davidow, has asked PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) to assist innkeepers in determining if they have been affected by 'bait and switch' tactics allegedly used by Expedia.

A Class Action Suit will be instrumental in obtaining an injunction for starters. It now appears that the success of the case may hang on whether Atty Davidow can add to his list of complainants. No legal fees or costs are involved for plaintiffs, and there may be financial rewards at the ending.

1. The Class Action Suit may be limited to 'unaffiliated' inns, but may be extended to inns with a 'set aside' arrangement.

a. 'Unaffiliated' means your inn is not in a contractual / business relationship with Expedia; your inn is listed on the Expedia site even though you did not supply any room inventory.

b. Set Aside' means you have provided a limited number of rooms - not all - to Expedia; you do have a contractual / business relationship with Expedia.

c. Be advised, if you were previously contracted with Expedia, contracts 'automatically renewed' and to sever the relationship you must have obtained the termination in writing.

2. When a potential guest searches for your inn, "rooms unavailable" is displayed and is incorrect (you do have rooms available). This result is repeated using different dates (PLEASE do this test on your property before taking the survey below).

a. The lawsuit contends that for 'unaffiliated' inns, since no inventory was supplied, Expedia cannot know availability and should so state, rather than post that rooms are unavailable.

b. 'Set Aside' inns: if/when the room inventory you supplied is booked, the 'rooms unavailable' would be posted even if you have rooms not in Expedia inventory.

c. The injunction seeks a more accurate statement, such as Expedia admits they do not have availability information and to contact the inn directly.

Note: A survey shows that 85% of guests understand a 'rooms unavailable' post on Expedia means there are NO rooms, period, on Expedia or anywhere else.

3. Expedia then re-directs customers to properties that pay Expedia a booking fee.

Please read the article below that shares the experience of one set of Innkeepers in British Columbia.




Also, take a moment and watch the video associated with this article.




As the CBC TV expose' shows, Expedia and its progeny, Hotels.com, Orvitz and Travelocity, have been fined in France for falsely advertising the unavailability of inns that do not pay them commission, and has been sued in California by lawyers representing Buckeye Lodge and DC's Mansion on O Street and a putative [not yet authorized] class of similar inns.

If by the information shared above, you have determined that you believe your inn's business is being harmed and you are willing to take a phone call from the Attorney to discuss, please complete a very brief questionnaire below, which will be sent to PAII, reviewed, and then with your permission will be shared with the Attorney.




Sanity Cartoon