By coincidence, just noticed this on All Hallow’s Eve. And of course parity is one of those things: news of its death is always greatly exaggerated. So perhaps this latest outbreak of notable, systematic parity breaches merely presages death without being the thing itself.
For years, Expedia has been like the Spanish Inquisition, hounding hoteliers for any parity violations, whether intentional or perhaps just accidents along the chain from wholesalers to retail distributors.
Now it appears Expedia is leading parity violations with arrangements such as alleged “package rates” offered because you bought something else entirely on Expedia.
It’s almost as if the Pope turned Protestant and nobody’s noticed… Where’s the Spanish Inquisition when you need it?
Hoteliers should be alarmed, especially if rumors are true that Expedia is doing this as retaliation against hoteliers who have offered “private rates” under cloak of loyalty/rewards membership.
Hyatt, for example, has been offering 20% off for Platinum and Diamond members of its Gold Passport loyalty program. Is it a coincidence that Expedia now offers up to 20% off without cloaking the rate in a package, undercutting Hyatt.com by $16 per night… and is it with Hyatt’s blessing?
At this same time, neither Booking.com nor Orbitz nor Hyatt itself were offering $103/night and all that Google’s Hotel Finder could locate was the $119 rate:
Meanwhile, Starwood has also been offering cut rates to SPG members. Subject to some restrictions, deals range from 5% off of already discounted Hot Escapes to 35% off rack rates and daily breakfast for two for SPG members. They either gave Expedia permission to do this or perhaps were not “expecting the Spanish Inquisition”:
As observed, Expedia undercut SPG.com by $20-$30 per night for a January 5 to January 6 stay.
At the same time, neither Orbitz nor Priceline nor Starwood/Westin itself were offering a $129 rate and the best that Google’s Hotel Finder had to show was $149 on Priceline and $159 on Orbitz.
What’s going on?
It appears that Expedia is offering hotel package rates (typically only available when cloaked within an actual package) but without a package… just with the coincidence of a flight having been booked separately and not even necessarily to the same location.
Executives from Hyatt and Starwood were busy trick-or-treating so we could not confirm how they feel about being undercut by Expedia. We can only guess that a preview of the death of parity at Expedia’s hands is not something they were expecting.