What is Expedia?

Expedia is one of the world’s largest online travel agencies, and one of the most critical booking channels that any hotelier should look to capitalise on.

Expedia.com competes with Booking.com as the world’s largest hotel booking site – Expedia is bigger in the US, while Booking.com dominates in Europe.

But Expedia Group isn’t limited to Expedia.com. It now owns an incredible stable of OTAs, with sites like Hotels.com, Trivago and Vrbo all found beneath the group’s umbrella. Beyond hotels, the group offers Expedia holidays, Expedia packages, Expedia all inclusive trips, Expedia local experts, car rental, plane tickets and more. 

Who uses Expedia?

Expedia was founded in the US, and it dominates its home market. While Expedia attracts users from across the globe, and user numbers in English speaking markets like the UK, Canada and Australia are on the rise, over 90% of the site’s visitors log in from the US.

Expedia is equally popular amongst men and women and across age demographics, as you would expect from a general purpose hotel booking site that doesn’t aim for a specific niche.

On the hotel side, Expedia.com is used by all manner of accommodation providers, from multinational chains to holiday homeowners looking to make a bit of money on the side.

For small, independent hoteliers, the main Expedia.com website can form a fantastic source of bookings, while the array of Expedia Group subsidiaries can provide access to more targeted groups of potential guests.

Who owns the Expedia group?

Expedia began life as a division of Microsoft, but was spun off into its own public company three years later, so now Expedia Group owns Expedia, as well as an extensive list of other OTA channels.

What are the Expedia subsidiaries?

Expedia Group has acquired a wealth of online travel websites over the years. Expedia travel properties include Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Ebookers, CheapTickets, CarRentals.com, Expedia Cruises, Wotif and metasearch engine Trivago, amongst dozens of other Expedia brands.

In 2015, Expedia also agreed to buy vacation rental site HomeAway for about USD $3.9 billion in cash and stock. It was the largest acquisition in their history at the time. Accommodation using the ‘sharing economy’ model has been increasing in popularity over recent years, and Expedia wants their share of the USD $100 billion market.

HomeAway is now called Vrbo and operates off a paid listing business model, with 44% of all transactions still being made offline. However, Expedia is moving the company towards a more sustainable business model which includes instant online bookings. Vrbo will create a fee for travellers who book through the site, so that they can lower commissions and fees to accommodation providers.

While Expedia’s current customer base is almost entirely urban markets, HomeAway’s strength lies in beach and ski rentals, often in faraway areas. In some ways, it completes Expedia’s inventory, as the company is now able to reach all those travellers who prefer to rent vacation homes. It’s clear that with Expedia’s financial backing, Vrbo could be a formidable opponent to Airbnb.

What does it mean for small accommodation providers? Essentially, that there’s an alternative to Airbnb for instant online bookings in the vacation rental space. It also means that Expedia continues to rule the OTA space, so small accommodation providers can benefit from Expedia’s massive customer base by partnering with the giant to increase bookings.

Is Expedia reliable for hotels?

The short answer is yes – a company doesn’t get this popular by cheating, conning or otherwise upsetting its users.

But ‘is expedia trustworthy?’ is a different question to ‘‘is expedia good?’, so does Expedia offer the same sort of quality user experience for hoteliers as other OTAs like Airbnb and Booking.com? This answer to this question is also a firm yes, as tools like Expedia Partner Central can help you easily manage and monitor all of your listings across Expedia Group brands.

How does Expedia work?

Creating a listing on Expedia is a simple process, and can lead to your hotel being seen across a number of Expedia sites.

Step 1: Offer up basic info

On the Expedia homepage click on ‘List your property’, then give some basic information about your hotel: your address, the type of accommodation you offer, the number of bookable rooms and your email address.

Step 2: Create an Expedia account

After offering up this basic info you’ll be sent a verification email. Click the link in the email to create and sign into your Expedia account.

Step 3: Complete your listing

Complete your Expedia hotel listing by adding all the necessary information, from room details to amenities to reception hours. Be sure to include high quality photos.

Step 4: Welcome guests

Once your listing is complete, you can go live across whichever Expedia booking channels you choose, and begin taking bookings.

Step 5: Manage your listings with Expedia Partner Central

Expedia Partner Central is like the Booking.com extranet – a central tool that allows you to manage your listings across Expedia and all of its subsidiaries.

Best practices for hosts using Expedia

The reasons to use Expedia are many and varied: access to more potential guests, the ability to target specific audiences, one portal to control multiple listings and more. But how do you ensure you’re fully capitalising on the opportunities that Expedia presents? Here are a few tips and best practices.

  • Invest in professional photos: An investment in high quality professional photos can deliver an incredible return, as they help your hotel stand out from the crowd.
  • Choose your Expedia OTAs wisely: Carefully consider the Expedia brand booking channels you want to accept bookings through – go for quality over quantity, and choose those that best align with your own hotel brand.
  • Consider paying to boost listings: Paying to push your listing up the Expedia results page can be a great way to get more bookings, particularly in low season.
  • Use a channel manager: Sure, Expedia Partner Central allows you to control all your Expedia listings through one portal, but what about Booking.com, Airbnb, metasearch engines, direct website bookings and all your other booking sources? A tool like Little Hotelier’s channel manager can help.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).