The news about growing tensions between Choice Hotels and Expedia breaks and everyone following hotel news channels will have heard about it by now. It has sparked off a stream of articles and blog entries over the entire week. What it is all about:
Choice Hotels cut off negotiations with Expedia feeling that they couldn’t accept the new terms and conditions and that Expedia was not ready to negotiate but merely demanded. Choice argues the new terms would effectively take away hoteliers’ rights to manage inventory and rates at their own hotels, destroy channel management and rate parity, and will eventually lead to a long-term erosion of hotel brand and price integrity.
The author of an article for Hotels Magazine pretty much aligned himself with Choice Hotels to the extent of comparing the love of hotels for Expedia (or OTAs / TPIs in general) with the Stockholm syndrom. Read the article.
Tuesday, 20th October
ebookers UK announces to have added a new package holiday booking engine to their site which provides access to millions of holiday offers. The new engine uses TravelTainment technology and is the latest attempt by ebookers to extend the range of tools and services available to customers.
Wednesday, 21st October
BAA sells Gatwick airport for 1.51 billion GBP to the owner of London City Airport, US-based Global Infrastructure Partners. The company had to sell one of their London airports after an inquiry found that customers were suffering from a lack of competition between airports. It has also been ordered to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport but is appealing against that decision.
Thursday, 22nd October
On Thursday we saw another round of discussions concerning the Choice – Expedia conflict. Adam Kirby from Hotels Magazine ask whether Choice is Leading the Revolution? He says ‘Choice Hotels, whether it meant to or not, finds itself as the leader in an anti-OTA revolution. The big question now is whether there will be any followers’.
However, there are also those opposing the rebellion against Expedia such as Consultant, Marketing Coach and Author Neil Salerno. He argues that the discussion is void because the direct channel cannot compete with OTAs. OTAs spend much more for marketing and therefore have more exposure. Salerno: ‘Smart hoteliers consider OTA business as a base which allows them to build occupancy.’ “Growing Tension Between Hoteliers and OTA’s”…NONSENSE!
Friday, 23rd October
Today, Expedia entered the next phase of the dispute by appealing to Choice franchisees directly in a letter which was obtained by hotel technology blog Tnooz.com.
Expedia clearly denies the fault for the breakdown of negotiations and suggests that it is open to continue on property level. They also claim that the terms, mentioned by Choice, which led to the breakdown had already formed part of the day-to-day relationship during the prolonged extension period and are no different to what they have in place with other long-term partners.
It seems like the discussion is heating up and this letter could potentially be explosive stuff in the anti-OTA ‘revolution’.