This week brought two big pieces of news from Expedia: They’re going to stop “dimming” hotels that don’t offer their bast rates to Expedia, and they’ve launched a service called Rev+ that allows hotels to gauge their rates against competitors. These both seem like good news, especially since at first glance it looks like Rev+ will only pull data from a hotel’s rates on Expedia, not all its rates globally.

We’ve also pulled together 3 great guides to help you grow your direct bookings: a cheatsheet with 10 metrics to improve your distribution activity, using hotel apps to build loyalty, and an analysis on how to keep the customer at the heart of your business.

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Expedia axes strategy of dimming hotels that apparently offer low value

A process where search results for some hotels are not shown in prominent positions or do not include types of media content has been scrapped by Expedia Inc.

The group says the practice of so-called “dimming” will be phased out after feedback from hotels and travellers.

The idea behind the strategy was to remove photos or bits of information in a listing during a user’s search results for any property that Expedia deemed as “offering low consumer value” compared to other hotels.

Expedia’s tactic came to prominence earlier this year when the mainstream media picked up on the story from a consumer-champion angle, criticising Expedia for being the “most prominent dimmer in the business” and allegedly restricting visibility and choice to travellers.

The online travel agency’s biggest detractors claimed “dimming” was being used to punish hotels that wouldn’t offer it the best rates.

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10 Tips to Analyse and Improve Your Hotel’s Distribution Activity

Distribution is one of the murkiest areas of revenue management for many hoteliers. It’s also one of the most important areas to manage carefully when you’re trying to drive direct bookings. Which channels should you be on? Which ones are giving you bookings? What about cancellation rates? And are some bookings more valuable than others?

There’s only one way to answer those questions: data.

To get a quick guide to the 10 pieces of data you should be looking at to improve your hotel’s distribution game, here’s a one-page cheatsheet. Once you’ve printed this off and ticked the boxes, you’ll be fully armed. You will know which channels are growing, which ones are giving you the most guests and the fewest cancellations, which channels are popular in your low periods, and how much value each one really delivers.

Get the Cheatsheet

Expedia pushes hotel B2B services with revenue management launch

Expedia wants to boost its efforts on the hotel technology side of operations – unveiling a revenue management tool known as Rev+ this week.

The Expedia Partner Central wing of the group says it will offer the product free to properties that are already part of its distribution network on sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Venere.

The system allows hotels to gauge their rates against competitors over the course of 90 days, alongside other market factors. The launch of Rev+ is part of a wider programme to work closer with hotels by providing IT and services to hotels that, somewhat ironically, will help them manage their direct-booking capabilities.

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Can hotel apps build instant brand loyalty?

If there’s one word we’re all concerned about in the hospitality industry, it’s brand loyalty – and how to get more of it from our guests. We roll out the red carpet (figuratively and sometimes literally), try to give impeccable service, anticipate demands before they’re even made; yet we’re all still struggling with brand loyalty. Are native hotel apps the solution to finally cracking the brand loyalty problem, once and for all?

Take a look at the pros and cons.

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Book Direct: Hoteliers, you may be better prepared than you think

It’s key to keep the guest at the center of your designs and technology when you’re trying to build direct bookings. The recent emphasis on booking direct and personalisation is largely driven by rising distribution costs, and hoteliers recognize that there must be an investment in certain technology and data needs.

This article explores a system to reduce customer friction, and argues that keeping the guest experience front and centre should be at the heart of a hotel’s strategy. On analysis, while hotels actually performed better than OTAs in terms of customer experience, both channels offered too many choices, confusing customers.

How Does Your Hotel Stack Up?