Wholesale Destinations Inc.- One of America’s top travel wholesalers, headquartered in Tampa Florida shared a frightening warning with travel consumers Thursday at the International Travel Brokers (ITB) convention in Dallas, Texas.
DALLAS, Texas – Wholesale Destinations is now regarded by many travel industry executives to be the whistle blower in the travel industry revealing publicly that since 2015 the U.S. Hotel industry has been held hostage by the “duopoly” of Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc.
The US Hotel industry brings in a whopping $200 billion in revenue each year and a staggering 91% of all the travel booked in America is booked through Expedia Inc and Priceline Group. The two online travel super giants monopolies.
Does this monopoly hurt consumer choices and impede small businesses?
Well members of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, with members such as Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott sure think so. They have begun to lobby the Federal Trade Commission to step in and help broaden the customer options.
Will the U.S. Hotel Industry will be successful at breaking up the duopoly? “That is highly unlikely since Expedia and Priceline retain the top lobby firms and congress have become extremely hotel friendly under the new Trump Administration.” States Dean Piccio a travel historian out of Dallas. “With rising vacation costs annually and commissions at an all time high, the growth and Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc is truly unstoppable at this point”
Wholesale Destinations states that online retail customers pay more commissions than ever before. Take Expedia Inc as an example, once a small offshoot of Microsoft, quickly became a powerhouse in the travel industry, and now owns multiple brands such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Trivago. They appear to be each other’s competition with their own aggressive marketing strategies. The truth is that those companies are actually owned by the same conglomerate. The current vision of the company, according to its own website, boasts, “We are aggressive!”, “We will grow and take shares of our competitors!”, and to that they have remained true, only at the cost of consumer’s dollars. Expedia and Priceline Group are both high end retail travel sites. Combined they own hundreds and hundreds of the largest travel sites.
The truth is Expedia’s commission’s range from 20-75%, a figure so high that it makes hoteliers wonder if they are in fact operating a franchise under Expedia’s control and no control of their own. Here is an example; a hotel will offer Expedia ten rooms for reservations. These rooms are not sold to Expedia and there is no income guarantee for the hotel. The rate is set at say $100 and, if sold, the guest will pay Expedia $100 and Expedia will pay the hotel $75. The $25 that Expedia withholds is the commission fee which is used to provide customer service, marketing and seek new business.
The second of the two claimed monopolies of the online travel industry is Priceline Group, Inc. Who is a conglomerate of many well known travel and booking sites. These include priceline.com, booking.com, KAYAK, agoda.com, rentalcars.com, and OpenTable.
Advertising cost Priceline $2.8 Billion dollars last year alone. Yet who do you think covers those costs? You guessed it right. The consumer! Like Expedia, Priceline began business in 1997 with its famous Name your own price line. Beginning in the early 2000’s Priceline began to focus solely on travel and started acquiring leading travel booking sites such as booking.com, agoda.com, and rentalcars.com.
Currently, chain hotel groups have shown an increase in bookings over the last year due to strategic advertising and special deals, such as free stays and membership points. However the chains still find themselves at a disadvantage through the price parity rule which prohibits chain hotels from advertising lower rates on their own sites than those offered through online agencies. Thus advertising through agencies like Priceline and Expedia is a must but a costly necessity. Commission rates have skyrocketed to an estimated 3.5 billion dollars a year. No wonder the chains are seeking to eliminate commission costs by luring travelers to book through their own sites, and seeking to oust the “monopolies”, Expedia and Priceline.
In response to the allegations of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, an Expedia spokeswoman stated that the travel industry is highly competitive and Expedia plays a small role. She also concluded that listing on the company’s site is optional but millions advertise through their site to increase bookings. In return it has only infuriated hotel franchise owners, and has given companies no choice, but to seek out a way to hold onto some of their profits for abilities to cover company costs. With inflation playing a big part, and options left slim due to ill regulations franchises are left to fend for creative ways to stay in business. As long as Expedia and Priceline continue to dominate, there will be charged commissions and advertisement costs, that again the hoteliers and consumers get the displeasure of picking up with their pocketbook.
As the travel industry evolves with technology and advances into the wholesale destination notion, consumers are seeking the advantages of a full package deal accompanied by reduced rates, which holds both the hotel associations and their adversaries accountable to accommodate those options in order to remain part of the industry.
Savvy consumers have sought out alternatives and Wholesale Destinations has become the choice of many as the first wholesale travel agency in America. Wholesale Destinations provides the same exact travel as Expedia and Priceline but has given vacationers and travelers alike, a new way to book vacations and trips of their choice at much lower prices. They charge zero commissions on any travel and make their money like other wholesale clubs such as Costco and Sams Club. Wholesale Destinations profit and operating expenses come as a result of member annual dues. With over 500k members and growing, they seem to be growing a concept that a couple years ago was practically unheard of.
They were named America’s fastest growing travel agency for the past 2 years by INC 500, TMTC Platinum 500 Club, and was even named the best of the best agency for booking Sandals Resorts for the lowest prices available to the market. Wholesale Destinations fulfillment company was founded in 1992.
Today, Wholesale Destinations has over 500,000 active dues paying members worldwide and is 100% Debt-free. They boast of zero advertising costs and zero commissions or mark ups to their members and feature inventory from over 150 travel wholesalers providing travel options to 2000+ cities, in 150 countries and a collection of more than 5000 resorts world-wide! Offering unbeatable pricing with a guarantee so strong that, if a member of Wholesale Destinations finds a better deal online that is less than what they offer it for, then they will reimburse its member 110% of the difference. “We believe that beats any other price match guarantee you’ll find out there” says Reimo, an executive at Wholesale Destinations. “What SAMs Club and CostCo do for groceries and tires, Wholesale Destinations does for cruises, resort stays, airfare, hotels, and vacation packages.”
Wholesale Destinations has been recognized as one of the top travel agencies in America, associated with ARDA, and are members of CLIA and IATAN. Wholesale Destinations board of directors have over 225 years of travel management experience. The agency prides itself on passing on travel discounts and quality of vacations and suppliers that no other player in the travel industry can seem to match. Agency also offers unmatched first class, 24/7 365 concierge service. Wholesale Destinations Inc. has grown to become one of the largest and most profitable travel agencies in North America. Being a member of Wholesale Destinations Inc. as a consumer you open up access to huge savings to booking luxury properties, hotels, air fare, all-inclusive vacations, cruises, car rentals, railways, guided tours, and many more perks that you would not otherwise get by booking through Expedia or Priceline, because it isn’t lucrative for said companies, and would cut into their commission’s and advertisement costs. By giving the ability not only to save big on travel and vacations Wholesale Destinations Inc. gives access to choices of 2000+ cities, in 105 countries and a collection of more than 5000 resorts world-wide!