Two months after Airbnb rolled out a controversial $260 million coronavirus relief package for hosts, rival Expedia Group is slightly upping the ante with an estimated $275 million recovery package for hotels, destinations, and owners and operators of alternative accommodations.
One of the common denominators in their respective programs is both companies attracted funding from private equity firms, including a mutual minority partner, Silver Lake, which helped boost resources to be in a position to fund relief efforts.
To be sure, though, Expedia and Airbnb’s programs are very different.
The main planks of Expedia Group’s effort, which includes a projected $250 million worth of marketing credits, reduced and delayed commission payments for hoteliers, as well as $25 million in credits from Expedia Group Media Solutions for destinations’ co-op advertising campaigns.
Specifically, the Expedia Group plan includes:
- Expedia Group will take 25 percent of the compensation it earned from a property in 2019, and turn it into marketing credits if the property chooses to participate. The company will reduce its commissions from partners by 10 percent for three months, and extend pay-at-the hotel compensation for 90 days after the stay. The “credits,” which would range from $200 at a minimum to $100,000 maximum, should not be confused with credit cards that require repayment, as some international partners erroneously believed.
- Vacation rental property managers and owners are eligible for the credits and commission relief as long as they’ve contracted with the Expedia Partner Central platform, and not just with its Vrbo subsidiary alone. Vrbo had roughly 2.1 listings at the end of 2019, and about 765,000 that have been integrated onto the Expedia platform. Expedia Group urged property managers to reach out to their account reps for information about eligibility.
- Destinations would be eligible to participate in a $25 million co-op advertising program “to reignite demand through market awareness,” Expedia stated.
- Expedia is sharing for free training and education videos for furloughed and laid off workers that it created for its own team.
Expedia Group also is rolling out several new programs and features that don’t readily fit into the marketing credits or financial relief categories. Among them, hotels can now add wholesale rates into Expedia Partner Central on a non-exclusive basis, and access Expedia’s array of distribution partners, including airlines, banks, and loyalty partners; lodging partners can highlight hygiene measures, and Expedia is introducing a data dashboard for insights about demand, and tools to spotlight flexible airfares and refundable lodging rates.