Listing your vacation rental properties with Expedia can vastly expand your reach, driving higher visibility and more bookings not only on Expedia.com but on Expedia Group’s global network of brands and affiliates.
But navigating all the options on Expedia can be time-consuming and confusing. And without proper attention to your listings and promotional opportunities, you can easily get lost in the crowd.
We’re here to help. At VacayHome Connect, we’ve been helping property managers manage listings and promotions on Expedia for more than ten years. As the leading full-service channel manager for vacation rentals, we’re a trusted connectivity partner to Expedia Group and other top distribution channels.
In this 2023 Expedia guide, we’ll show you how to optimize your listings on Expedia and drive more visibility and bookings as well as rave reviews from your guests. Whether you operate a single property or a large portfolio, we’ll share everything you need to know about amplifying your presence on one of the most popular travel sites in the world.
Launched in 1996 as an online travel portal owned by Microsoft, Expedia was spun off as a public company in 1999. Today, Expedia Group is a multi-billion-dollar company that owns and operates online travel agencies (OTAs) around the world, including Expedia.com, Vrbo, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, Trivago, Wotif, and others.
For millions of travelers, Expedia sites provide the ability to book flights, accommodations, car rentals, cruises, activities, and packages all in one place. For vacation rental property managers, there are many good reasons to partner with Expedia. Here are a few:
In return for generating bookings, Expedia charges a percentage of the retail price from suppliers as a commission. Commission rates can vary by booking site, region, type of booking, and type of accommodation, but for vacation rentals they generally fall in the range of 10% to 30%. Most hosts can expect to pay a base commission of about 18%.
While that may seem like a lot, the new bookings generated should easily offset the costs, and the higher demand will allow you to increase rates. While attracting direct bookings should always be your top priority, the marketing costs of attracting direct bookings can exceed commission costs with no guarantee of bookings. With OTAs, there are no upfront costs; you only pay for actual bookings.
And many travelers will never book directly. They prefer to use a travel site they know and trust, where they can also book flights and other aspects of their trip. By satisfying those needs, Expedia has become a dominant operator. Together with Booking Holdings, Expedia Group represented 92% of the OTA market in the US in 2019.
There’s also the “Billboard Effect” to consider. A study from Cornell University found that a significant portion of travelers discover hotels on OTAs and then book directly on the hotel’s website, generating 7.5 to 26% in incremental bookings. Think of OTA commissions as a one-time fee to acquire new customers, and then turn them into loyal direct bookers on future stays.
For vacation rental property managers, listing on Expedia is a vital part of a diverse distribution strategy. The real question is can you afford not to be listed?
Creating a property listing (also called a property profile) on Expedia is free. You pay only when bookings are realized. When scrolling through accommodations in a destination, travelers will see your listing and can click to see your full profile.
To list your properties, visit Expedia’s welcome page and sign in. If you’re not a member, you’ll be required to create an account. Then you will be guided through a list of questions. This can be a fairly lengthy process, so be sure you have all the information close at hand before you begin.
Here is some of the information you’ll be asked to provide:
You will also be asked to accept Expedia’s business terms, commission rates, and payment terms and confirm tax and regulatory information.
During setup, you will be asked if you work with a connectivity provider such as a property management system (PMS) or channel manager. These tools can save you a lot of time by enabling you to create and manage your listings on Expedia and other distribution channels from one centralized platform. If you don’t currently, you can add a provider later. For details, visit the Using Technology to Connect to Expedia section at the end of this 2023 Expedia guide.
Once you have successfully registered on Expedia, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on next steps and a lodging agreement. Thereafter, you can manage all aspects of your listings from Expedia Partner Central. You will also have access to helpful tools, data, and insights.
There are more helpful resources in Expedia’s Resource Center and Help and Support Center, including contact information if you need to reach Expedia staff directly. And the Partner Central App allows you to manage listings from your mobile device.