As part of our series on the top online travel agencies (OTA) for selling tours and activities, today we’ll take an in-depth look at Expedia Local Expert.
Expedia is one of the largest OTAs worldwide. With over 600 million visitors to its network of websites, it provides consumers with all types of travel products and services. Expedia is one of the main distribution channels for hotels, flights, tours, and activities.
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What is Expedia Local Expert?
Expedia Local Expert is the “things to do” division of Expedia. It’s where visitors can book tours, activities, transfers, and buy theme park tickets in over 1000 destinations across the world. Offers also show up at the end of booking travel and lodging.
In addition, Expedia Local Expert provides hotel concierge services. You can find Expedia reps in select hotels around the world who sell tours and activities to guests – something that was previously handled by hotel staff.
In 2017, Expedia reportedly sold over half a billion dollars in tours and activities through its Local Expert brand.
Why Use Expedia Local Expert?
Large OTAs like Expedia help you reach people that you may otherwise not have access to. With over 200 websites in the Expedia network, your offers are presented to customers when they are most receptive – during the booking process of things like travel and lodging. This means you can grow revenue from a global audience of travelers. If your costs don’t increase with each additional customer, supplementing your bookings with this channel makes a lot of sense.
Yes, competition is hard to beat in large marketplaces. However, Expedia Local Expert is relatively uncrowded as a distribution channel for tours and activities. This is a good opportunity to take advantage of, especially if your offers are regional and serving a particular niche.
Traffic to Expedia.com is close to 50 million monthly visits (data from SimilarWeb, updated as of January 2019).
Lastly, it’s no wonder that so many people visit Expedia. In 2008, it was named as the 3rd most admired internet company in the United States alongside brands like Google and Amazon. People choose Expedia because it provides a superior buying experience on both mobile and web. This makes it a great distribution channel, especially if you target travelers from the US.
Commission fees and how Expedia works
Expedia earns revenue in several ways, the biggest of which is their merchant business led by hotel reservations and partner commission fees. Whenever a customer books through Expedia, the platform keeps a percentage of the sale price. This is negotiable but normally between 20% and 40%.
Revenue of Expedia Inc. worldwide in 2017, by business line (in million U.S. dollars)
So if you list your activity on Expedia at, say €50, they will keep at least €10 per booking made on one of their sites. This commission fee is used to cover service and marketing costs.
Apart from its merchant business, Expedia makes a large chunk of its revenue from their agency and advertising divisions.
Advertising on Expedia
A range of advertising options are available on Expedia. According to Tnooz, revenue growth for this division is roughly 25% a year. This indicates that advertisers see a good return on investment.
You can choose from solutions like Display Advertising, Sponsored Listings, and even Email Marketing, giving you access to Expedia’s 23 million subscribers. To explore these options further, you can get in touch with a consultant on their official advertising page.
Expedia Local Expert cancellations and refunds
So what happens if a customer books your offer through Expedia and then decides to cancel? Should you give them a full refund and if so, will Expedia cover part of that?
It’s worth noting that Expedia can work with you to resolve complaints, acting as the first-tier customer service and will escalate issues only when needed.
However, if you can’t resolve a complaint successfully, Expedia may refund the customer and deduct this from amounts owing to you.
How to Join Expedia Local Expert
Registration as a merchant is free on Expedia. Once you fill in your details, they’ll send you a custom offer tailored to your business goals. What you’ll need are 20 high-resolution photos, your best rates, and availability. The Expedia Local Expert team will take care of the rest.
After you sign their agreement and pass a final review, you get listed on all sites in the Expedia network. You can manage your listing through a special merchant platform and make changes as needed.
Expedia Local Expert insurance requirements for suppliers
In order to sell on Expedia Local Expert, the company and its affiliates must be named on your insurance policy.
In essence, Expedia has set out insurance guidelines for suppliers so both you and Expedia are covered in case you need to make a claim.
The cover you get will depend on the type of product you provide and your location. You should also notify Expedia of any changes to your insurance policy, for example updating your address or the amount of excess you wish to pay. You can read the full requirements here.
Expedia Local Expert is becoming an important distribution channel for tours and activities.
While competition can be tough, it’s still a relatively uncrowded platform which is very popular among US travelers. Therefore, it presents a lucrative opportunity to get in and build up your ratings and reviews.
In addition to your normal listing on Expedia, you can also advertise on its network of websites and email list.
Lastly, we covered how to join Expedia as a partner and start selling your tours and activities there in no time.
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