Expedia creates new Sell Tonight tool to help hotels push last-minute roomsNewsBy Sean O'Neil | January 13, 2015Share This article was originally published on Expedia Inc is adding a "Sell Tonight" function to Expedia PartnerCentral (EPC), the extranet that hotel managers use to upload room and rates inventory to the company's online travel agencies.The Sell Tonight tool lets hotel revenue managers change same-day room rates via a new dashboard on the EPC extranet.Within 15 seconds of inputting the new price and clicking a button, the updated pricing is pushed across every Expedia and Hotels.com point of sale, including mobile apps, that the hotel has signed up for.Benoit Jolin, head of global supplier experience and the person responsible for EPC, told Tnooz: "It required a transformational change in how Expedia's technology works to enable a one-click push of a new price that is followed by promotional merchandising messaging, like 'Tonight only deal!', to be pushed systemwide."Share this quote This week, Expedia Inc debuts Sell Tonight for its hotel partners in Las Vegas. By early February, the product will be released to all North American hotels. A global roll out will follow.The right-hand side of the Sell Tonight dashboard has a running stream, or leaderboard, of rates. The leaderboard shows the real-time cheapest prices for hotels with the same number of stars at the same destination for same-day booking.This competitive pricing intel is supposed to help hotels gauge how deeply they should discount at the last-minute.First big overhaul since 2009Sell Tonight is one of a series of new functions being added to EPC. For instance, Expedia has been rolling out check-in feedback from guests while they're still at the property.Similarly, since September, a new "Market Watch" feature has arrived. It lets a hotel manager choose up to 10 competitor properties he or she wants to track.In a way, this new functionality is a game of catch-up for the hotels distribution giant.Channel manager software from companies such as RateGain and RateTiger have long been competing in this space, though they've had to work without as much immediate access to internal travel agency data.About four out of five partner hotels interact with EPC at least once on a month on average. The conglomerate hopes that improvements to the platform will boost the overall engagement. Says Jolin: "We're taking the product management, test-and-learn, and user experience expertise of our consumer sites and applying them to the wholesale partner platform. Our overall goal is help hotels take fewer actions and to show hotels how those actions have a clear impact on performance.... We want managers to come in to work in the morning and quickly see the one, two, three, actions they could quickly take to tackle some of their top goals."Share this quote In that spirit, Expedia's team has banned the word "extranet" from the project management group because it believes "extranet" suggests a dumb, passive, input mechanism.The team apparently prefers to think of EPC as a more dynamic and insight-driven platform--with hotels receiving back as much actionable, relevant data as they put into the system.