(hospitalitybusinessnews.com) Hyatt Hotels has settled their disagreement with online booking agent Expedia. It was widely reported at the beginning of the summer that the hotel giant had threatened to pull their brands from the booking platform amid a row over the colossal fees that Expedia charges to have guests book rooms in Hyatt hotels through the site. Hyatt said they were going to leave the site and take all of their brands with them if Expedia didn’t agree to cut their commission considerably by July 31st. Hyatt’s position will no doubt set a precedent for other brands and hotel chains who are also dissatisfied with the losses they incur by clients booking through platforms such as Expedia, who charge between 15 and 20 percent for the service.
The number of online travel agents, or OTAs, is growing all the time, and hotels are becoming beholden to them to garner more bookings, as people will often use generic search sites such as Expedia or Booking.com to book hotel stays rather than going straight to the hotel themselves. Many hotel chains are trying to claw back direct bookings by offering discounts and promotions if guests book directly through their sites, and by partnering with proprietary booking engines who have a more tailored approach to matching clients with their desired hotel, although this is often more popular with boutique hotels than bigger, established brands.
OTAs have such a big share of the market that hotel brands often lose the battle. InterContinental Group famously left Expedia in 2004, only to go back after the recession when hotel stays were decreasing significantly. Hyatt, however, have been able to reach an agreement with Expedia, a spokesperson for the group saying, “We’ve had productive discussions with Expedia and have agreed in principle on terms that address our concerns about distribution costs and flexibility. We expect that Hyatt hotels will continue to be distributed on Expedia platforms without disruption.” Hyatt will continue to be listed on Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz and Travelocity, all of which are operated by Expedia.