Expedia Group is offering airlines an additional revenue stream in the wake of COVID-19 via its template technology, which provides travelers with the option of adding lodging or car to their flight booking.
The easy-to-integrate technology from Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) enables airlines to cross-sell additional travel components on their website such as hotel or car, made possible through access to Expedia Group’s extensive global supply. It also facilitates a full-service booking experience for travelers so they can book standalone travel components on an airline’s site, helping airlines drive incremental revenue to their business.
As travel recovers, it’s vital for airlines to build end-to-end booking experiences that drive long-term customer loyalty. The technology also gives travel providers the ability to integrate their loyalty program, implement smart growth marketing strategies, and is backed by global support through the traveler’s channel of choice via a live or virtual agent.
One US airline signed up in May 2020 to help boost its offering to customers after the initial wave of the pandemic hit and is benefiting from the solution. The airline saw the number of travelers adding a specially discounted hotel to their flight increase by almost 40% in the four weeks after the cross-sell capability had gone live compared with the four weeks before its launch, despite general global booking volumes being low during that time.
Expedia Group data has previously shown that travelers who book multi-item trips or packages on Expedia Group sites tend to be more valuable too: pre-pandemic figures show they book further in advance and were more likely to be international travelers, who tended to spend more than domestic travelers.
While the template technology has been available to airline partners since before the pandemic, it has become even more relevant since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 last year. Recent industry research shows that airlines in the U.S. in January this year operated at around 55-65% of the capacity levels from the same period last year1. With this in mind, the cross-sell technology helps to drive incremental demand to airlines when they need it most.
More broadly, the Expedia Partner Solutions business saw a 15% increase in the proportion of air and hotel package rates being booked via B2B technology solutions (both Expedia for Partners template and EPS Rapid API) in February 2021 compared with February 2020, a clear sign that the technology enables further growth despite the challenging era for the industry.
Julie Kyse, VP of Global Air Partnerships at Expedia Group said: “We are always looking to provide our travel partners with ways to grow, so we’re excited that airlines can take advantage of an easy way to cross-sell ancillary travel products and boost their revenue. With such a challenging backdrop for the travel industry, now is an important moment for airlines to embrace new and creative ways to boost their bottom line. The success we’re seeing from partners currently using the technology is encouraging and we continue to support them as we navigate the path ahead together.”
Τhe innovative solution is another way in which Expedia Group continues to offer support and solutions to its travel industry partners during this highly unpredictable time for the industry, including building new tools such as ‘one-click cancel’ to handle mass flight cancellations, self-service tools like a virtual agent to help travelers quickly manage their booking if situations change, and allowing air partners to list their cleanliness protocols clearly on Expedia Group sites.