When a major event, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, impacts properties in a specific location for a defined period of time, a Hotel Flexibility Policy may be implemented for that market.
These policies allow our Expedia agents to waive change or cancellation fees without reaching out to the property for approval. This reduces call duration and hold times since agents are able to handle the influx of related calls more efficiently.
When are Flex policies implemented?
Not every crisis event will receive a hotel flexibility policy. In 2019, only ten events triggered Expedia flex policies. The following are examples of situations that usually require a flex policy:
- The majority of properties in a market are being impacted or are unreachable
- Top properties in a market are already waiving fees due to the event
- Conditions and circumstances are impacting transportation in a major way (road/local airport closures)
Events that impact travelers, but usually do not warrant a flex policy, include dilemmas such as airline cessations or strikes. The same is also true for events in locations that are unrelated to the final travel destination, such as a winter storm in New York preventing customers from traveling to their hotels in Europe.
Following Flex policy implementation
It may be possible to cancel or change bookings that are inside penalty windows or non-refundable without incurring a penalty (or receive a full refund). To find out more information on what actions to take if a Flex Policy is implemented at the time and location of a specific booking, contact EPS Agent-to-Agent (A2A) support or your assigned EPS Account Manager.
How is a Flex policy approved?
Expedia Group's Market Management and Crisis Operations teams monitor events around the globe to determine potential impact to a market. Once an event is reviewed and approved by these teams, they are continually monitored for updates to their duration and locations covered.
All hotel flex policies, their duration and locations covered, are at Expedia's discretion and indisputable. We place ourselves in financial risk for any flex policy since we may need to cover costs should properties later refuse to honor a waiver. This may also have financial ramifications for partners setup on gross profit sharing.