Hotel flash sales at Expedia are no flash in the pan.
After experimenting in December with flash sales of discounted hotels, Expedia has decided to run the feature "indefinitely" -- although it has tweaked the product.
Expedia.com's product, ASAP: A Sudden Amazing Price, offers two hotel deals per day, each running for 12 hours and offering bookings up to 50% off the online travel agency's published rates.
These flash sales, similar in some ways to those offered on Jetsetter, VoyagePrive, RueLaLa.com, Off&Away or even Expedia Inc.’s own SniqueAway, can be accessed from the Expedia.com homepage beginning at noon EST Mondays through Fridays.
Prior to those times, ASAP is absent from the homepage.
Unlike some of the private sales hotel sites mentioned above, ASAP is open to the general public.
Expedia.com's homepage already is crowded with Last Minute Deals, Book Early & Save promotions and Hot Deals.
"We are always looking to create value and offer our travelers better deals," says Tim MacDonald, Expedia.com's general manager. "We recognize the importance of offering a diverse range of deals in the most accessible way and the Expedia ASAP is another way we are doing so."
Expedia has opted to have one of the daily deals focused on hotels in the eastern U.S. while the other focuses on the West Coast.
The eastern U.S. deal on Feb. 15 was for a "50% discount" off the published rate for a stay at the Warwick New York Hotel on Classic room types through Dec. 30, 2011, with blackout dates in the mix.
Expedia doesn't initially display the room price, saying "discounts are from Expedia's every day rates and will be subtracted from the price of the hotel at the time of booking on Expedia.com."
This obviously protects hotel sensibilities about openly displaying steep discounts off their published rates.
Flash sales of hotels obviously is a hot arena. Expedia has now made its somewhat tardy entrance -- although the entire genre is perhaps only a couple of years old at most-- and hopes to use its power to make flash sales an ample revenue stream.