xpedia has developed the new Accelerator program, which has begun rolling out over the past quarter of 2015. The Accelerator program offers hotels the chance to move their listings on Expedia up in exchange for paying extra commission. Hotels bid against each other, effectively turning Expedia into a marketplace for the highest bidder, although other factors are also taken into account. The Accelerator program is generating controversy – and for good reason. Many hotelier and hotel groups, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association, view the Accelerator program as harmful to customer choice. The AH&LA said that “the program will severely jeopardize consumer choice in the hotel booking process,” calling it “highly problematic”. Other hoteliers believe it simply represents an opportunity to put heads in beds in times when it’s difficult to get occupancy rates up. In an interview with Skift, Expedia CRO Mark Okerstrom said the Accelerator program was part of a general effort to make Expedia more of a marketplace: “You know, a marketplace where hotels can compete against the right people - not us - compete against each other for the vast amount of traffic and bookings that our booking platforms and fantastic brands around the world provide.” Of course, it could be argued that competition for the ‘vast amount of traffic and bookings’ should be based on merit (as determined by a hotel’s offer strength and quality score), rather than on willingness to pay more than the OTA’s usual commission rates. Get the full story at Net Affinity