Are travel agents important in online travel?  Expedia thinks so

Are travel agents important in online travel? Expedia thinks so

Are travel agents important in online travel?  Expedia thinks so

Skift Take

Expedia tries to take advantage of business-to-business programs. It is ahead of Booking Holdings in this area and Airbnb has none.

Dennis Schaal

Online travel this week

Expedia Group has been busy shedding non-core brands and trying to simplify operations, so why just expanded a travel agency partner program from North America to 21 new countries in the Caribbean, 16 in Europe, 13 in Latin America and three in the Middle East?

The company announced on Tuesday the expansion of its longtime Affiliate program for travel agents. From 15,000 travel agents in the program in 2011 to some 35,000 today, the program isn’t exactly breaking any growth records.

But while vacation travel agency bookings likely aren’t financially material to the $15 billion company — its market cap has fallen off a cliff since February — Expedia Group’s business-to-business segment is.

The Expedia Travel Agent Affiliate Program is part of the company’s business-to-business segment, which generated nearly $1.5 billion in revenue in 2021. And Expedia Group CEO, Peter Kern, sees expanding its affiliate business, which includes not only leisure travel agencies but also travel management companies, airlines, retailers and banks, as a key strategic priority.

Affiliate company appears to be much bigger for Expedia Group than it is for Booking Propertythat is trying to catch up, and has recently started powering a T-Mobile travel portal.

As part of the announcement, Expedia Group said it is a American Society of Travel Advisors Silver level proud partner. Expedia has been a premium member of ASTA, which currently requires an annual fee of $2,000, since 2000. But joining the Silver Level Proud Partner tier means that ASTA also treats Expedia as a supplier, and the company would pay approximately $ Spending 40,000 to sell to the US travel consultants, an ASTA spokesperson said.

Expedia has announced several promotional and limited-time offers, including increased commissions on select hotels, for affiliate program members in Canada, Europe, the UK, Mexico and the US, as well as the opportunity for US travel consultants to offer a 15 percent discount on hotels worldwide. from July 6 to August 7.

Travel agents that are part of the Expedia affiliate program can book vacation rentals, hotels, flights, packages, car rentals and activities. They can even – in a sense – earn commissions on airline bookings, which usually come with zero commissions. When Expedia affiliates book a vacation package that includes a flight, they receive a commission on the entire travel cost, including the flight.

It remains to be seen whether vacation travel agents will be big business for Expedia, but the company is confident enough to expand the program to 53 new markets.

In brief

WhatsApp makes travel popular in India and the Middle East

WhatsApp, i.e. Facebook, is the most popular messaging platform in India and the Middle East, and it is making headway in traveling across different geographies and income levels, reports Peden Doma Bhutia of Skift. skift

Superapp Wannabe AirAsia looks at US stock list

AirAsia wants to drive US investors to boost its ambitions as both an airline and an e-commerce super app, so Capital A, formerly AirAsia Group, hopes to list on the New York Stock Exchange in 2022. skift

Airbnb and Marriott came close to some sort of marriage around 2015

In Skift’s Oral History of Short-Term Rentals, former Airbnb strategy manager Chip Conley revealed that Airbnb and Marriott came close to some sort of deep collaboration around 2015. Marriott apparently thought better of it and backed out. skift