Who Owns The Customer? Expedia Sets Clear Boundaries With New Messaging Tool

Expedia has begun withholding all pre-arrival customer contact data from hoteliers with the launch of its Partner Central Conversations messaging tool, through which hoteliers must communicate with guests who have booked rooms on the OTA.

And not all hoteliers are happy with the change, with a few emails flying around the industry, especially among smaller operators who feel they should have access to customer email addresses and phone numbers from when the booking is made.

One said: “The suggestion that this is ‘to protect guest privacy’ is a complete furphy.

"The guest is our customer and is paying for our services. It is clearly about Expedia not wishing properties to have data.

"As a small business operator I do not want to have to make a special request for information for every booking nor do I want to have to go via Expedia channels each time I wish to communicate with my customer”.

But Drew Bowering, Expedia Director of Market Management in Australia, takes a different perspective.

"Expedia Partner Central Conversations provides booked guests with an easy-to use means to communicate with their selected property before and after their stay whilst protecting guests’ privacy," he commented in an email.

"Properties can continue to request guest contact information at check-in, enabling guests an opportunity to provide the necessary consents to how such information will be used."

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    5 thoughts on “Who Owns The Customer? Expedia Sets Clear Boundaries With New Messaging Tool”

    1. The only one who loses out here is the guest who returns back to the hotel they might have been to before. It's hard to match a guest profile with no information.

    2. A few days ago, I tried to contact guests who were due to arrive the next day. They had booked a tepee but I wanted the guests permission to upgrade them to a cabin, due to the forecast terrible weather.
      The Expedia system seemed to take my contact request, it even sent me an acknowledgement email. However the guests said they never received any such info from Expedia.

    3. i'm not sure why hotels are surprised – Ive seen hotels send out emails to Guests advising them to book direct with them next time and they will give an extra discount – this is even before the client has checked in. Hotels need to understand they can't have it both ways.

    4. It's just another barrier between the guest and the experience. Historically, any advantageous pipeline lengthens as more middlemen get their cut. Online trade is providing a windfall for these people due to ease of entry; further the middlemen don't provide any service for either the guest or the provider. It's pure profit.

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