Expedia is a really important channel for many accommodation owners, because of its reach. This one channel link can create additional listings across their entire network (including Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Trivago, Travelocity, and the Expedia Affiliate Network). So how can you make the most of your Expedia profile? Here are our six top tips.
1. Customize your listing
Instead of just talking about your property, talk about the experience of staying in your property. Mention local landmarks, highlight activities in your surrounding community and talk about all the reasons you love your neighbourhood and why you’re sure your guests will love it too. Think of this as a way to differentiate yourself. More and more people travel not just to stay in a room, but because a specific restaurant is close by or the accommodation offers a certain view or the building has historical significance… Tell the story of why people should choose you and what makes you special.
2. Be savvy about your rates
Some accommodation owners are choosing a non-refundable rate on Expedia. You can offer it at a discount off your flexible rate and customers waive their right to cancel in exchange for a small discount. Think this through, though: if someone has to cancel their trip because of a death in the family, for example, and they give you two months notice, are you really not going to refund them? And if you choose not to refund them, how likely are they to write you a bad review? (Sadly, very likely.)
A wiser option may be to have a non-refundable policy. Expedia only allows you to have one cancellation policy per rate plan. We generally recommend full cancellation 14 days out (no refund), but you can choose to set it to 30 days if you prefer. Be sure to update your rates via NightsBridge so that you prevent rate parity issues.
3. Ask for Expedia Verified Reviews
If your guest booked directly on Expedia (or Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Trivago, Travelocity or the Expedia Affiliate Network) it’s worthwhile asking them for an Expedia Verified Review. Asking in person, when you are directly engaging with the customer, is more effective than sending an email after their trip (when their inboxes are no doubt overflowing with emails!) You can also ask for an Expedia review right after check-in, where you ask the guest for feedback about check-in, travel and the room. This lets you address any issues while the guest is there, to prevent any potential bad reviews. Or even turn a bad review into a good one.
4. Learn as much as you can
Looking at Rev+ is very helpful for further insights about your property and how it compares to others. You can see where you rank in comparison to your competitors, and it’s an effective way to spot what your competitors are doing. Again, if you’re updating your rates be sure to do it on NightsBridge so that your rates are consistent across all channels.
How do you do it? Log in to the extranet, then choose Property Details > Overview.
Rev+ can help to explain trends you’ve noticed (more or less bookings over a certain period), and whether it’s time to make changes. Checking Rev+ once a month is helpful to give an idea of what’s happening around you.
One trend, for example, that is helpful to be aware of is that the age range of travellers is starting to change, and the scope is widening. If you think of people in their late 30s and early 40s these days, many of them are travelling with kids. They might be happy for their kids to sleep in their room, but many properties don’t offer family rooms. Do you? Does your competitor? If your competitor lets a family stay in one room and you’re insisting their children have a second room, who do you think they’re going to choose?
5. Consider a Winter Special (across all channels)
Now that peak season is almost upon us, all thoughts of Winter Specials have been chased away. But when you’re planning your year, it can be helpful to keep a Winter Special in mind. The goal is to make your money in summer and cover your costs in winter. So if you have a demonstrated lull over a certain period every year, consider running a special over that time. And plan ahead so that you can be prepared. Here’s a tutorial that will show you how to override your rates for a short period of time.
6. Get to know Expedia Partner Central
Expedia Partner Central is an amazing resource for accommodation owners. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be able to see what features and opportunities are available to you – this can make all the difference to the quality of your listing.
These are just a few tips to ensure your Expedia listing is working as hard as it possibly can. By making small adjustments, you can easily improve your listing on Expedia and ensure you’re maximising your potential.