Expedia talks finance, partnerships and loyalty – from Phocuswright Europe
Charuta: What makes Expedia so special?
Alfonso: “This is the first time Expedia has published its results publicly. This year we released our B2B segment results in Q1 2023, with revenue growth of 55% over the previous year. Over the last 2-3 years, we have been diversifying, we have had time to climb the mountain, both B2B and B2C are doing well, and we will continue to grow.
Our growth in B2B is largely because our technology has been adopted by companies of all sizes, and will continue to play a crucial role.”
Charuta: Let’s talk about financial partnerships. How important are they to you?
Alfonso: “We have recently announced several deals, especially in the US, such as with Mastercard. The travel sector is very attractive, and no one wants to give up their piece of the pie. It is worth noting that fraud has increased considerably – about 75%. With the Expedia widget, companies can prevent and manage fraud.”
Charuta: What synergies exist between loyalty apps?
Alfonso: [With regard to the recently announced new loyalty programmes, One Key, TAAP (Travel Agency Affiliate Programmes)]. “The advantages and benefits of loyalty programmes are felt from day one; you don’t have to wait until the 10th day. The goal is to reach the 83% of travellers who never get status or significant rewards because they only make a few trips a year. These can be used on flights, hotels, cruises, activities, holiday rentals, and car rentals. Travellers will be able to use and earn rewards on Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo, an integration that did not exist before.
“One Key, probably the most comprehensive loyalty programme in existence, and one of the most powerful options available, will launch in July in the US and next year in other markets.
[Alfonso also comments on Travel OS, which was the first microservice offered through Travel OS. Travel OS has reached commercial status, and its revenue management API and service technology is now in beta testing with partners.] “We will listen to our partners to see what their priorities are, and we will continue to adapt to them.”
Charuta: How important are partners to Expedia, and how many partners do you have right now?
[Alfonso comments on the partnership with Marriot and says that they have about 36 partners]. “Our partners see less friction in terms of rates; there will be new developments in the near future. We will also work with independent hotels.”
Charuta: We can’t finish this interview without talking about AI. The moderator asks if jobs will be lost.
Alfonso: “Expedia was the first company to introduce GPT Chat. We have been onboard since the beginning.
“For us it’s a great enabler, but it’s not something new for us, although everyone is talking about it now.
“What we will achieve with AI is to improve the customer journey, the traveller experience, at all stages, including customer service.”