When Expedia, Inc., and Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. agreed to merge, travel agents throughout the world, hotels, and other resort destinations realized that thousands more businesses would be squeezed out of business. Hotels looked at this $1.6 billion dollar deal, knowing it would cost them money and lower booking efficiency. Airlines are wary of having a “bigger giant” standing between them and their passengers. It is beginning to sound like Monopoly again. We at BGP suggest that travelers seek out reputable travel services to assure you have a good travel experience.
We at BGP expect these results from this "buy out":
- Poorer service to consumers and travelers
- More expense and booking fees to hotels and resorts
- A charge to earnings of airlines because they will be paying more fees to Expedia
- More consumer and travel customer complaints because of Expedia’s known bad customer service.
- More of a direction of Monopolization of the travel industry, which will in the long run, drive costs higher, not lower.
Stories of Expedia’s inefficiency and lack of customer service abound. BGP documented one typical incident. A couple went online through Expedia to book a hotel room in Sierra Blanca, Texas. That is way west, near El Paso, Texas. 5 min later they got a confirmation for a room in New York City. Immediately the customers called Expedia’s customer service line, got someone from India, who said they would correct it. It was not corrected an hour later, so they again called, because by this time, Expedia had already taken money, for the expensive New York City hotel, from their credit card, and still had not corrected the booking to the smaller hotel in Sierra Blanca. Expedia’s “call center” again promised to fix it. This couple drove 12 hours, got to the hotel in Sierra Blanca, and not only was there no room reservation for them through Expedia, in spite of the promises of Expedia’s ‘Customer Service’, the hotel did not even have running water and could not even offer a room with functioning bathrooms. So, they had to drive to another town and pay yet again for a room. This poor couple by now had paid a total of $400 for a hotel room, on a booking that was supposed to cost $69. They again wrote letters, made phone calls, protested, called Expedia repeatedly, emailed, sent hard mail copies, but got no refund, no apology, zero in good customer service.
Expedia admitted to the fact that they charged them for an expensive room in New York City, (the wrong hotel, in the wrong city, in the wrong state) and still refused to refund the money or offer any settlement, credit or solution.
No wonder the company makes money. When American Express was brought into this incident, they told the poor Expedia customers, “you can challenge the charge, but Expedia always prevails.”
So now with Expedia becoming the largest travel booking giant in the world, this is what you can expect:
- Expect unreliable service from Expedia
- Expect no satisfactory way to get a change or refund without considerable effort
- Hotels, airlines, and other companies will have to pay more in charges
- Consumers, as usual will have to foot the bill for substandard service.
It has been almost a mantra in business in America, that “bigger is not better” for people, consumers, business or the country.
We at BootheGlobalPerspectives may have a "light hearted" suggestion. CitiBank group has consistently been charged, fined, and punished by regulatory agencies for years because of unethical banking activities that hurt investors and consumers. Perhaps we should get the giant CitiBank, to merge with the giant Expedia. Then those genius brains with such a hybrid concept of business ethics who cook up these systems to “fleece” the people, could travel and work together. Of course, they might have to be careful about the airlines or hotels that they pick, because in light of the news of Expedia buying Orbitz, shares in many of the airline and hotel companies dropped, for fear that this event will harm travel and hospitality industries earnings.