US-based hotel booking giant Expedia/Hotels.com lost most all of its Norwegian hotel chain clients when they rebelled last year against Expedia’s terms of business. Now Expedia seems eager to woo them back, with the hotels extracting far better deals.
“They apparently didn’t think we were serious,” Bjørnar Tretterud of First Hotels told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). His chain was the first to object to what the Norwegian hotel operators called Expedia/Hotel.com’s “sky-high” commissions on booking revenues, as well as what Expedia called “rate parity.” That meant that the hotels couldn’t sell any rooms at rates lower than what was advertised on the Hotels.com web site, even when they had empty rooms they were keen to fill.
The Norwegian hotel chains thus believed that Expedia/Hotels.com was exerting too much control over their business and they started dropping out. Scandic, Thon, Nordic Choice and Rica Hotels all followed First Hotels in cutting ties with the online booking site, leaving it with just Radisson Blu/Park Inn, Best Western and some independent operators.
Now DN reports that Nordic Choice, Scandinavia’s biggest hotel chain, has signed a new deal with Expedia, and Scandic is doing the same. Expedia, according to DN, has agreed to cut its commission to less than 15 percent and drop its demand for rate parity.
“We’ve always wanted to get a new deal, because Expedia/Hotels.com is a very interesting and big distribution channel, especially for traffic from countries outside the Nordic area,” Roar Ingdal of Nordic Choice told DN. He wouldn’t reveal the terms of Nordic Choice’s deal with Expedia, because it’s “confidential,” but said “we have received commercial terms we can live with.”