Expedia Group pledges $275m to COVID recovery

US: Expedia Group has promised to provide $275 million to help its partners recover from the global pandemic.

Approximately $250 million of this will go to the company’s various lodging partners, primarily in the form of marketing credits and financial relief, with the remainder supporting destinations, the industry at large, and additional partner efforts.

Each property that participates in the programme, Expedia Group will reinvest 25 per cent of the compensation earned from the property in 2019 in marketing credits. These credits can range from $200 to $100,000 and will be given to properties based on recovery signals such as demand trends.

These credits can be used over a designated month to improve a property’s visibility. Furthermore, Expedia will reduce its compensation by 10 per cent on all new bookings, regardless of date.

Cyril Ranque, President of Travel Partners’ Group at Expedia Group, said to Phocuswire: “Candidly, there’s been a lot of [responses] from lower commission, to give me free marketing money, to give me cash, to leave me alone, to give me demand data, etc., etc. We tried to build a program that addresses a little bit of all of these types of asks.”

The company is also providing proprietary data, such as website traffic, stay dates and demand markets, through its new Market Insights tool.

Expedia Group will also spend the latter 25 million on destination-led and cooperative campaigns to help rekindle interest in travel. The company hopes that these efforts will help build new trust for consumers, hoping they’ll return to longer travel again.

Ranque added: “To rebuild that trust beyond driving 200 miles away from your home into a hut in the middle of the woods, which is what people are thinking is safest … to really make the industry recover, we need to communicate to customers what the industry is doing as far as health and safety matters.”

The company has also added a training programme and ways for partners to expand their hygiene programmes’ visibility.

The global travel industry is seeing signs of recovery- the UK vacation rental market saw a 716 per cent spike in bookings between April and May. Expedia, however, announced it would be phasing out its multifamily short-term rental business due to the pandemic.