Expedia To Force Members-Only Promotions?
Through the extranet of EX, hotels can create many different Promotions based on many different conditions such as periods, rates, rooms, last-minute or early bookings, and so forth.
One of these options is represented by those Members-only promotions.
In essence, it’s the counterpart of BO Genius Program, nothing more, nothing less. Travelers signing up on EX can benefit from discounts on hotel rates.
The amount of the discount is up to the hotel. This is the tiny little difference as compared to B: Genius discount is fixed.
Besides, the benefits for hotels are exactly the same, meaning NO BENEFIT at all.
Hotels do NOT get any better ranking, neither on BO nor on EX. These promotions simply serve OTAs to get sign-ups in their database, so that they (not the hotels) can market to those prospects.
But still, hotels are the ones “paying” the price by reducing their margins.
However, after auditing many hotels in the last months, I realized a “discrepancy” between the % of discount in the extranet and the % users are being offered, on the site of EX.
For example, this hotel created 3 different members-only promotion levels, either 3 or 5% discount:
Here is how the same hotel looks like in frontend.
First, in the hotel-listing page, hotels with members-only promotions are being displayed with a nice CTA that catches visitor’s attention:
And here is the hotel-details page:
Ultimately this is the screen after signing in:
How come? It simply doesn’t add up.
I dug a bit deeper, actually a lot deeper, trying to connect the dots on all possible combinations. The first thing I thought is that EX may simply bundle multiple discounts. Let’s check again the 3 members-only promotions:
- DOD MOD = 3% discount and it applies to a single room type that, I checked, is permanently closed, at least for the dates I shopped.
- AP MOD = 5% discount, across all rooms but limited to the Advance Purchase rate.
- Mobile AP MOD = 5% on mobile devices only.
I’m on desktop device so, considering the above, eventually I should only see the promotion AP MOD.
Which is 5%, not 10% as EX shows me in frontend.
But wait, neither AP MOD applies. Does this look like an Advance Purchase rate?
Advance Purchase rate may be different than Non-Refund rate. Advance rate doesn’t necessarily mean that it cannot be cancelled.
So I checked and no, Advance Rate in this case is non modifiable, meaning that I shouldn’t see the discount.
Moving forward. Are there other promotions that can sum up to 10% discount? Yes, there are, but:
- they are either applicable to Package rates only (and the one I am looking at in my last screenshot is a standalone rate), or based on a minimum length of stay. My search is for 1 night only.
- none of those promotions are members-only. Even if, why then would the 10% discount be bookable after signing in?
Long story short, even trying to combine different promotions, in no case I end up being entitled of a 10% discount.
So, How Can It Be?
I assume it’s the same old story, the OTA is willing to slightly reduce their margins on commissions, in exchange of a better pricing positioning as compared to other OTAs and, more importantly, your direct channel.
Also, by looking into the statistics all of these promotions, meaning room nights and revenue generated, generally speaking they perform very well. Meaning very bad, for the direct-booking strategy of the hotel.
This is where I want to focus our attention upon for a minute: how can we, hoteliers, be satisfied of something by simply looking into its production only (again, room nights and revenue)?
It’s the same principle as the representative of any wholesaler you might be working with, who comes to your hotel for renewing the contract, and the guy tells you “hey, last year we generated 1000 room nights for your hotel”, deliberately avoiding to mention that the biggest part of those room nights are coming from those uncontracted OTAs like Amoma.
In other words, rooms nights that you likely would have received anyway, but at a lower cost.
Put succinctly, besides how the amount of discounts is being outputted, if you are willing to give such discount, meaning lowering your rates, why don’t you just give it on all public rates?
It will actually boost your exposure also to those who are not willing to sign in to get a discount.