SEATTLE — Expedia Group has committed $275 million to help partners rebound from the impact of COVID-19 and fuel industry-wide recovery efforts.
Research carried out by Expedia Group in April found lodging partners want support from OTAs in four priority areas as they look to rebound from the pandemic: demand-trends insights on leisure and domestic travel; investments in marketing and demand generation for travel and destinations; increased visibility on Expedia Group’s sites; and financial relief.
The company’s recovery program is comprised of global initiatives to support industry recovery and property-level relief designed to help independent partners and small chains rebuild their business, attract high-value guests and optimize cash flow.
“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ plan for recovery. Restoring travel will take an unprecedented level of partnership across public and private sectors and a deep understanding of what our partners need,” says Cyril Ranque, president, Travel Partners Group at Expedia Group. “This recovery program is the first step in our long journey to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable global-travel ecosystem.”
Expedia Group’s recovery program will support partners through a $250-million commitment in marketing credits and financial relief. For each property that participates in the program, the company will reinvest 25 per cent of the compensation earned in 2019 from the property into marketing credits for use with Expedia Group. The company is also reducing its compensation on all new bookings made within the three-month program period, regardless of stay dates. Expedia Group is also extending payment terms for Hotel Collect bookings to 90 days to provide additional financial relief. These measures will become available to partners based on recovery signals, including demand trends, from their specific markets — ensuring support when it will be most beneficial.
The company is also providing proprietary data to track trends through a new analytics tool called Market Insights. The dynamic dashboard provides trends on website traffic, stay dates and demand-source markets. The tool is live now and is complimentary to all partners utilizing Partner Central.
To support chains and owner groups, Expedia Group released a streamlined version of its optimized distribution solution that allows lodging suppliers to more effectively manage the distribution of wholesale rates among third-party travel providers. The solution is designed to increase revenue by favourably positioning supply partners’ inventory across a network that includes airlines, loyalty and membership organizations, financial institutions, offline travel agencies and more.
To help restore destinations, Expedia Group Media Solutions is opening a $25-million fund for destinations. This recovery plan focuses on destination-led and co-op campaigns, which bring together destination and supply partners with similar audiences to manage their advertising spend while maximizing their conversions.
Expedia Group is also rolling out a series of global brand campaigns designed to keep travel top of mind. These campaigns include online, video conferencing, virtual marriage ceremonies and virtual travel experiences.
To support the larger industry, Expedia Group has created a complimentary training and education program called Expedia Group Academy to help furloughed and displaced workers advance. The program offers skill development through online learning modules and live content led by Expedia Group subject-matter experts and travel-industry leaders. Participants will receive recruitment opportunities upon completion. The program is expected to kick off in late June.
To help build consumer confidence, the company has also created a new feature for lodging partners to highlight the health-and-hygiene measures at their properties. And, to provide booking flexibility, approximately 70 per cent of lodging rate plans on Expedia Group sites are now refundable. Additionally, Expedia Group is introducing a new filter to search flights by flexible fares on Expedia Group sites globally.