Robert Brown

How OTAs can drive value up and win in the online space

April 10, 2018

There’s no denying that travel is big business – and technology has a big role to play in pushing boundaries, enhancing experiences and supporting achievements within our world.

The travel industry has a well-established reputation for leveraging the latest technological advances to benefit businesses and consumers alike – to simplify the travel booking process while also delivering a great customer experience.

In today’s digital world, everyone and everything is connected. As a result, consumers are increasingly demanding in terms of their expectations. When it comes to buying travel products, they have a huge choice in terms of how and where they opt to search and buy, whether that’s through meta searches or online travel agencies (OTAs) or direct suppliers’ websites. But with increased choice comes a greater desire for personalization and localization – for tailoring products and service to suit travelers’ specific needs.

Personalizing and tailoring content to inspire travelers
To stand out and win in the online space, OTAs need to quickly embrace the trends and innovations that are driving the industry forward. Investments should be focused on improving customer choice and the travel experience, for agencies and their travelers. Build engagement with your customers, and they will build their engagement with your brand.

Travelport’s role in helping the online channel to succeed is to use our advanced technology to maximize return on trip across the whole customer experience, We work closely with our OTA customers to deliver value by driving differentiation, conversion, total revenue and business growth up.

Driving differentiation up
With suppliers changing their distribution strategies, supplier.com websites are offering richer information about the travel services they’re providing, supplemented by a comprehensive range of on-the-spot ancillary options.

To compete, OTAs have to display far more than just airline logos, flight times and prices. They need to provide added value by offering everything from seats, bags, meals and Wi-Fi to lounge access, upgrades, limo pick-ups – so travelers don’t have to go directly to the supplier.com website to choose and customize preferred travel options.

Turning lookers into bookers
With branded fares and ancilliaries via Travelport APIs, OTAs can offer customers a shop that allows them to easily compare different airlines’ offerings – not just looking at prices, but also enabling real merchandising, displaying what is included in the fare and what is available for an additional fee.

According to Tripsta, one of Europe’s largest OTAs,  branded fares and anciliaries is a winning solution. Since recently adopting Travelport technology, the agency has already reported a 40% upsell on airlines offering branded fares, resulting in a 30% increase in revenue on these upsells. The agency has benefited from greater profit margins and significantly improved conversion rates. 

Fly365.com, one of the most recognizable travel brands in the PAC region, also shared that branded fares and anciliaries has increased all of their sales across the board – while also reducing phone calls to call centres.

The rewards of offering relevant customer choices
To ensure sustainable success, OTAs also need to address the challenge of long-term engagement and customer loyalty. It’s not just about providing choice – it’s about providing relevant travel choices.

Having a platform that can identify the unique needs of travelers and present them with the most relevant content, in the most consumable manner, is a crucial factor behind driving conversion.

Flygpoolen, alongside sister brands Flightfinder and Travelstore, is one of the most competitive agencies in the OTA market and operates throughout the Scandinavian region, competing against agencies that predominantly use metasearch providers. The agency’s introduction of Travelport Search Control Console resulted in a 100% increase in bookings in their major market and significantly improved the look to book ratio.

Webjet Australia, the largest travel agency in Australia and New Zealand, also reports that with Travelport’s Search Control Console solution, it is now able to market the content the way it wants on its site to meet its travelers’ needs and enhance the customer experience.

Differentiate your content to stand out
Consumers are in the driving seat these days. They’re much more informed, savvy and know what’s available in the marketplace. In today’s technology-driven world, travelers have come to automatically expect great choice, instant results and a completely connected experience.

OTAs need to differentiate to stand out. They have to offer a comprehensive choice of content that’s better aligned with customers’ specific needs.

Travelport’s superior rich content and ability to ensure the delivery of relevant content can help you to do all of this while also maximizing the enjoyment and benefit of every trip. So make it count for your customers and your business by adding value every step of the way.

Click here to read the full article and see how you can maximize return on every trip.