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If you have signed up with Expedia on or after 1/1/2020 you should know the language has been re-written as compared to the language in previous Expedia contracts which appear to constrain your ability to sell your rooms direct.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is not intended and should not be taken as legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice regarding any questions you have regarding your Expedia contract.
New Agreement Title: EXPEDIA LODGING AGREEMENT
The New Agreement states:
This Agreement contains the terms and conditions on which Expedia may make rooms provided by you under this Agreement available for booking by guests through the Expedia System.
Old Contract Title: EXPEDIA TRAVELER PREFERENCE (ETP) CONTRACT
The Old Contract states: This Expedia Traveler Preference Contract … contains the terms and conditions on which Expedia may make Rate Plans provide hereunder available for booking by guests through the Expedia System.
Fenced Booking means a booking of a room by a guest through the Expedia System that is made by the same guest who also has booked or books another lodging component or car-hire, airfare, rail ticket or other non-lodging component …
Not much appears to have changed regarding Fenced Bookings.
The New Agreement states:
1) You may discontinue participation in Opaque Bookings by providing 10 days written notice to Expedia.
2) … you may discontinue participation in Standalone Fenced Bookings or rate matching under this Section by option out as provided in Expedia Partner Central.
The Old Contract states:
1) You may discontinue participation in Opaque Bookings by providing ten (10) days written notice to Expedia.
2) You may discontinue participation in Standalone Fenced Bookings by opting out in the manner provided through Expedia Partner Central.
The Old Contract included XX# of rooms that were defined as Base Rooms. The New Agreement has removed all references to the Base Room language. It states that you will always make all unbooked rooms available for display on, and booking through the Expedia System.
The Old Contract had a section included similar to: The Property will set aside at least 0 base rooms (the “Base Rooms”) per the stay date that will be available for display and bookings through Expedia’s system.
The Old Contract and the New Agreement language is very similar, except for the fact that this now applies to all rooms in your inventory, as the Base Room language has been removed. In addition, the language has changed regarding Expedia setting pricing for selling your rooms.
The New Agreement states: …You agree that Expedia will determine the total price of any Booking at its sole discretion.
The Old Contract states: …You acknowledge that Expedia will determine the total price of any Package Booking at its sole discretion.
Also, notice the clarification on “Best Available Rate” definition section.
Definition: Best Available Rate means for each room night booked by a guest through the Expedia System, the lowest restricted or unrestricted price (as applicable), not including Taxes, or other government-imposed fees or surcharges or Hotel Fees, at which such room night was offered by you through any booking channels, including your own and those of any third-party, on the date such room night was booked, including, without limitation, any special, discount, and/or promotional rates.
The New Agreement has added language about how you may, and may not, communicate with your Expedia guest.
The New Agreement states: Additionally, your communications with guests regarding Bookings will not disparage Expedia or state that Expedia bookings are not entitled to the same benefits, amenities and services as bookings through your own channels.
The New Agreement has updated language regarding any Expedia guest cancellations.
The New Agreement states: … Expedia will be entitled to the Compensation for each room night of such booking unless you notify Expedia of the no-show or cancellation as specified in Expedia Partner Central
The Old Contract states: … Expedia is entitled to the Compensation Percentage of any penalty amounts charged to the guests for no-shows, cancellations or similar booking modifications.
The time to reimburse has changed from 30 days to 14 days.
DISPLAY, SPECIAL PROGRAMS AND DISCOUNTS
The language has changed slightly in the section regarding Discounts and Offers. The portion in YELLOW has been removed in the new agreement. At your request and upon reasonable notice, Expedia will meet with you to discuss any such offers and Your participation in them.
EXPEDIA PARTNER CENTRAL
The language has changed slightly in the section regarding your use of a 3rd party tool to feed your inventory to Expedia. Your use of your own or a third-party tool to interface with Expedia Partner Central does not modify your obligations under this Agreement.
As you can see, Expedia is buttoning down their agreement regarding your ability to sell your rooms directly. If you’ve been following your ALP (Association of Lodging Professionals — the new organization combining PAII and AIHP) e-news, you would have seen comments on the Expedia changes and how they are affecting Innkeepers in our industry.
ALP is also aware of this new 2020 agreement and the ramifications for Innkeepers who wish to sell direct.
If you are an Acorn client, and you have signed a new Expedia contract as of January 1, 2020, please tell us so we can document this in your files. When you email, please include the best number to reach you at, and the date you signed the contract.
- PAYG (Pay as you Go) clients please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Level 1 & 2 Advantage Plan Clients email email@example.com
- Level 3 & 4 Advantage Plan Clients email your assigned marketing project manager
This blog post is just an overview of the items we have identified that have changed that put Innkeepers using Expedia at more of a disadvantage when selling your rooms direct. It by no means is a comprehensive review of the new 2020 Expedia contracts.
Innkeepers need to read and interpret their own contracts, and if they are having issues understanding what they can and cannot do as per their specific contract, they should reach out to their legal counsel for assistance.