Expedia Group and Marriott International have announced an agreement, first signed in April, that will make Expedia the exclusive global distributor of Marriott’s wholesale rates, availability and content, effective October 15. Marriott said that the new distribution model, provided by Expedia Group’s B2B arm, Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS), will provide a single gateway for the redistribution of Marriott’s wholesale inventory, providing a consistent and reliable shopping experience.
“In the current distribution landscape travel providers such as tour operators, retail travel agencies or smaller OTAs have a number of options to get access to Marriott’s inventory, which includes direct connect with Marriott, GDS, bedbank or through an established OTA,” Alex Pyhan, VP of distribution at Marriott, tells Travel Agent. “Instead of receiving the inventory from a bed bank, travel providers may receive the inventory from EPS, which is very often already a source for many travel providers.”
Pyhan says that bedbanks can also contract with EPS for access to Marriott rates and inventory, so long as they comply with the company’s channel distribution standards.
“With the change to EPS, Marriott wholesale inventory for redistribution will now be distributed in a consistent manner through a consolidated partner, leading to increased efficiency and lower administrative burdens for Marriott hotels including monitoring compliance with Marriott’s channel standards,” Pyhan says.
“We applaud Marriott’s effort to deliver more consistent pricing as such inconsistency of rates causes consumers to lose confidence in the travel marketplace,” Michael Heflin, SVP, hotels, Travel Leaders Group, tells Travel Agent. “Price consistency ensures that advisors and their clients can make choices based on levels of quality, service, and room inclusions rather than expending time searching for marginal differences in room rates through channels which cannot guarantee room availability, loyalty rewards, etc.”
At the same time, Heflin says that having different pricing strategies for specialized customer segments, as well as a diverse array of channels to reach the market, is important.