Technology

Expedia Group closes short-term rental business, commits more than $400m to partner recovery

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Expedia Group has announced the permanent closure of its Multifamily Solutions business due to the “severe” impact of COVID-19.

In a statement on its website, Expedia Group Multifamily Solutions said its Flexible Living Platform (also known as Flex) was no longer sustainable due to “massive” travel cancellations and a significantly slower pace of new bookings.

The company said it would still operate and support guests until mid-June.

Flex was formed as a result of Expedia Group’s acquisition of two start-ups, ApartmentJet and Pillow, in October 2018. Both companies specialised in creating short-term rental technology for the multifamily industry.

The online travel giant has also committed US$275 million ($412.9 million) to help supply partners, destinations and the broader travel industry rebound from the impact of COVID-19.

Expedia Group’s recovery program is comprised of several global initiatives.

Initiatives for partners include US$250 million ($375.4 million) in marketing credits and financial relief, the provision of proprietary data and a streamlined version of the group’s optimised distribution solution.

To help restore destinations, Expedia Group Media Solutions, the global advertising organization of Expedia Group, is opening a US$25 million ($37.5 million) fund for destinations. The company is also rolling out a series of global brand campaigns.

For the broader industry, Expedia Group has created a complimentary training and education program, as well as a new feature for lodging partners to highlight the health and hygiene measures, and a new filter to search flights by flexible fares.

Cyril Ranque, president of Expedia Group’s travel partners division, said: “There is no one-size-fits-all plan for recovery. Restoring travel will take an unprecedented level of partnership across public and private sectors, and a deep understanding of what our partners need.

“This recovery program is the first step in our long journey to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable global travel ecosystem.”

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