Five to six years ago, Expedia embarked on a joint venture with AirAsia.
“They are masters at conquering South-East Asia opportunities,” said Expedia Asia CEO, Jonty Neal at the launch of their new Innovation Lab in Singapore in early April.
“Asia is the most dynamic travel marketplace on the planet!”
Driving that huge opportunity are “LCCs (low-cost carriers), destinations and the rising segment of the middle-class traveller”, added Neal.
“Thirty-seven per cent of that travel (search and booking) is online, eclipsing that of North America. Over 45% of our traffic comes through mobile,” he continued. More than half (55%) of travellers use two or more devices to shop for travel.
Expedia Group’s vice president of Transport Partner Services James Marshall leads airline partner relationships through Asia-Pacific as well as the Expedia group’s global connectivity team. Connectivity includes airlines, rail, cruises and car rentals.
“There are 75 million monthly air shoppers,” he said,“and 15 billion annual searches for airlines.
“Most future airline orders are coming from Asia,” he added.
While Expedia Partner Central is already in place for hotel partners, a similar set-up for airline partners is a work in progress. Expedia has over 500 airline partners.
“We want to make booking a flight simpler,” said Marshall. Expedia is looking into areas such as flight price, duration and connections.
Expedia bundles their products with their partners for flights, hotels and activities. Bundling translates to savings for the traveller.
“Price is nice but we can bring value elsewhere, too, for example, free flights,” said Neal.