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Hotels in the US: How to Use Expedia Channel Manager

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Using Expedia to help fill your hotel rooms can greatly increase occupancy and grow your business. But what is the best way to use Expedia? Let us introduce you to channel management software for your hotel. 


As a hotel manager, you know how important it is to have a good relationship with your OTAs. You also know how time-consuming and frustrating it can be to manage your inventory across multiple channels. 


Hotel channel managers like RoomRaccoon are third-party software that connects your property management system (PMS) with OTAs like Expedia. Through this connection, you can manage your inventory from one central location and free up your time to focus on other aspects of running your business!


Ready to connect to Expedia? This blog breaks down the important factors to consider when choosing hotel channel managers, and how to use RoomRaccoon as your Expedia Channel Manager. 


What Should Your Hotel Consider When Choosing a Channel Manager?




Assuming that you are looking for an Expedia Channel Manager for your property, there are a few things that you should consider before making your decision. The first is what type of property do you have? If it is a hotel, then you will want to make sure that the channel manager offers support for hotels in the US. 


The second thing to consider is what type of services do you need? If you only need basic support, then a lower-priced package may be right for you. Here are a few more things to consider before taking the plunge:


1. Two-way integration with Expedia


The first thing you want to ask is if the channel manager integrates with Expedia. You can typically discover this in their integration marketplace. Secondly, the channel manager software should have a two-way connection with Expedia for complete automation. A two-way relationship allows information to be sent back and forth between two pieces of software. 


For example, the channel manager will send your rates and availability in your PMS to Expedia. The channel manager will also update your rates and availability in your PMS and other connected booking sites whenever a booking is confirmed on Expedia.  



2. Real-time rates and availability synchronization


When you receive a booking on Expedia, your new availability must be sent between the two platforms at lightning speed to avoid overbookings. However, not all channel managers are made equal. 


Powerful channel management software will make real-time rates and availability updates and ensure if any room becomes available, it's immediately pushed out to Expedia and other OTAs. There are channel managers that can take up to 1-2 minutes to update. This delay leaves too much room for bookings to go undetected.


RoomRaccoon is one of the fastest channel managers and boasts a 5 seconds sync!



3. Channel manager commission fees


Expedia charges between 15% to 18% commission per booking, the industry average for OTA fees. Paying commission fees to OTAs is expected, and most businesses work the charges into their pricing strategy. 


What's not expected is how some channel management software vendors may charge an additional fee for bookings through OTAs like Expedia. Ideally, you want to invest in a  vendor that offers commission-free channel management, and you only pay a monthly subscription fee. 


Be sure to ask about any hidden fees when shopping for hotel management software.


4. Pooled inventory 


There are two types of distribution models: pooled inventory and allocated inventory. Pooled inventory is the preferred model by hotel businesses because it evenly distributes your inventory across all booking sites, including your website. In this case, your overall inventory reduces whenever you receive a booking. 

On the opposite, allocated inventory means that you give each channel a certain number of rooms. However, you limit the number of rooms each channel can sell, which creates a scenario where one channel sells out completely and leaves another with unsold inventory. Also, overbookings are more likely to occur.



5. Comprehensive reporting 

Comprehensive data on your channel performance and revenue insights are necessary to make smarter distribution decisions and adapt your channel management strategy to generate more revenue for your business. 

A channel manager with a Channel Report will show a detailed overview of your top-performing channels, occupancy rates, and revenue that you can compare against previous months or years.


3 Steps to Adding Channel Management Software to Expedia




The steps involved in connecting your property to Expedia will vary depending on the channel manager. For this example, we’ll use the RoomRaccoon channel manager and assume you have an Expedia account.


If you don’t have an account with Expedia yet, please contact Expedia and set up your property with them first.



Step 1: Request the connectivity


Select "Room and Rates" in your Expedia Partner Central account, then select “Expedia Connectivity Settings” from the menu items. Under the “system provider” section, find and select RoomRaccoon from the dropdown menu, and after selecting both the options (prices and availability) under the “Connectivity Options” section, click on the submit button.  


Send your Expedia ID to RoomRaccoon, and our Connectivity Team will finalize your connection with Expedia within two business days.

For more information, click here



Step 2: Map your room categories and rates


Mapping is an important process in which the room categories and rate plans in your RoomRaccoon PMS are matched against the room categories and rate types in your Expedia account. The data from Expedia will be pulled into the RoomRaccoon ‘mapping environment’. The process ensures that the correct rates and availability calendars sync between the two platforms. 


RoomRaccoon will need the following to map your categories and rates:


  • Category name in RoomRaccoon (E.g. 1 Bedroom Superior)
  • Category name in Expedia (E.g. Superior Apartment Standard)
  • The rate plan that you want RoomRaccoon to map to the category 



Step 3: Start selling your rooms!


RoomRaccoon will release your linked rates and availability from the 'mapping environment' where it will get pushed to Expedia. Now, you're set to start selling your rooms on auto-pilot.  




The Benefits of Using Expedia for US Hotels

Growing your business and increasing your occupancy


If you manage a hotel in the United States, you should include Expedia as part of your distribution mix. The Expedia Group dominates the US market with an extensive portfolio of brands to serve travelers' needs, including, Vrbo, Travelocity, and more. 


By communicating directly with Expedia through a channel manager, you can ensure that your hotel gets the most exposure possible. With more people booking rooms at your accommodation, you'll be able to increase profits and continue growing your business. 



Boosting direct booking with the OTA Billboard Effect


Research by Expedia Groups shows that the 'Billboard Effect' is a real phenomenon: hotels see more direct bookings when they appear on OTAs. This is because potential customers first discover the hotel on an OTA and then visit the hotel's website to book their trip directly. Approximately 65% of travelers booking directly with the property visited an OTA during the research stage. And about 18% of those travelers even visited an OTA on the day of the booking. 


Wrapping up


Using RoomRaccoon as your Expedia Channel Manager is a powerful way to distribute your inventory to Expedia and other OTAs in your distribution mix. The RoomRaccoon channel manager has a 2-way integration with Expedia and a synchronization speed of 5 seconds to ensure you never get overbooked.