Skift Take

Expedia's new pay-at-the-hotel option for Hilton, Marriott and others is all about competing with Priceline's, which for years has been growing by enabling guests to reserve a stay and then pay at the front desk.

Expedia Inc. added 4,000 hotels from Hilton Worldwide to the online travel agency’s year-old program that gives travelers a choice of whether they want to prepay Expedia or sister company for a room or pay at the hotel.

The so-called Expedia Traveler Preference program, which now includes about 21,000 properties globally, including Hilton and Marriott, gives travelers some convenience in that they don’t need to prepay on Expedia, and there’s no discount if they do.

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The above screenshot shows travelers their payment options on for the New York Hilton Midtown for a September 10 stay. When you click through, both options provide a total rate of $553.15, including taxes and fees, and can be cancelled without penalty before September 9.

If you previously prepaid for your Hilton stays on, now you have the additional option of reserving the room through Expedia, but paying at the hotel when you stay there for the same price.

Expedia gets increased “conversions,” i.e. turning more lookers into bookers, by providing more choice in payment methods, and receives a commission from Hilton, although it is less money than if travelers prepay Expedia.

For Hilton customers, there is no advantage to prepaying on Expedia other than earning Expedia Rewards so it would be more advantageous to book the room through Hilton and pick up some HiltonHonors points without having to deal with a third-party if anything goes wrong.

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Tags: expedia, hilton, marriott

Photo credit: An exterior shot of the Hilton Midtown in New York June 7, 2013. Expedia now gives travelers the choice to prepay for a room through Expedia or pay at the hotel. Andrew Kelly / Reuters

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