Tech in Travel: Why OTA travel marketing has taken off; Amadeus and Booking.com join forces; Asian Trails jumps into the digital age and D-EDGE goes shopping in Paris
Travelport has taken a look at why travel – “once a digital pioneer” – has taken the “scenic route” and is being left behind by other modern retailers. “As other industries have fully embraced the possibilities offered by new technologies — and used them to reinvent their future — travel has become mired in the complexities of its past,” Travelport said.
Following research with nearly 3,000 respondents worldwide, Travelport found that brand recall was poor, particularly in the United States and Saudi Arabia. People couldn’t remember which travel agency they last booked with. Whether it’s Booking.com, lastminute.com, Expedia or another OTA.
Travelport said poor shopping experiences were to blame for online booking, “once a disruptive force in retail”, becoming “so forgettable”.
“The results show a clear link between the shopping process and brand recall – or lack thereof. Happy shoppers remember the retailer. But shoppers with bland experiences don’t. And indifference encourages people to play with the system,” Travelport added. And while Travelport recognizes that OTAs are some of the most modern travel retailers, “even they aren’t quite successful.”
“Only two decades ago they were seen as the changing face of travel. Their clients were enthusiastic and loyal advocates. But now people can’t even tell them apart.
“And that’s because the industry has focused on the wrong things. Low-cost carriers made cheap travel a priority for customers, and since then everyone has competed primarily on price. It came at the expense of other things that customers also care about, and it made them suspicious,” Travelport said.
“This price competition has caused many booking sites to gradually transform into a maze of clickable pages, designed to generate more money on top of the base fare through extras and add-ons.
“But today’s shoppers are not fooled,” Travelport added. “By the time they get to checkout, they feel irritated, suspicious and hesitant that if they keep shopping they’ll find a better deal.
“Hint: cart abandonment.”
Asian Trails has launched its new B2B online connectivity system eConnect, giving customers access to static rates at hotels and key destinations in Southeast Asia and China, as well as a new range of fares dynamics through channel managers and major third-party vendors.
Powered by 11Infotech, eConnect offers online reservations for hotels, transfers, tours and excursions with instant confirmation that can be booked as a combination of countries or products in all Asian Trails destinations.
Asian Trails invites tour operators, online travel agencies or other interested parties to connect their systems to Asian Trails API connectivity for hotels, transfers and other activities. Or they can connect through major connectivity hubs or aggregators.
A new Star Alliance-branded credit card is set to launch in Australia.
The first credit card of its kind will have the ability to earn Star Alliance Points which can be transferred to a choice of seven Star Alliance member airlines, including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Air New Zealand Airpoints, Thai Royal Orchid Plus.
Cardholders will also be able to earn Star Alliance Silver and Gold status by spending on the card.
The card will be issued by HSBC, likely next week, and is expected to come with an annual fee of AU$450, waived in the first year.
A partnership between Booking.com and Amadeus is planned to streamline the payment process between travel agencies and accommodation providers. Travel agents booking Booking.com accommodation through the Amadeus travel platform can now choose to process payment using a wider range of virtual cards from the Amadeus digital wallet, from over 1.3 million card options. ‘accommodation.
The Amadeus B2B Wallet solution integrated with Booking.com reduces the requirement for travelers to provide payment information in advance or make payments upon check-in or check-out.
“By helping agents pay for stays with Booking.com’s accommodation partners, we’re removing several points of friction,” said Katja Bohnet, VP Hospitality Distribution, Hospitality, Amadeus.
Travel agents who pay for stays at Booking.com hotels have the choice of using 14 different card types, including credit, debit and prepaid options, provided by issuing banks around the world.
When agencies choose to pay this way, the virtual card is automatically recommended in the existing booking flow, saving time and creating efficiencies throughout the booking experience.
“Travel agents can align their payment method with their strategic priorities with a wide selection of options from our issuing partners. Hosting partners will also receive payment quickly and reliably: it’s a win-win-win,” Bohnet said.
Jeremy Cornuau, Global Director of Partnerships, Booking.com, added: “Virtual cards offer significant benefits and are gradually replacing legacy settlement systems and manual plastic card payments in travel.
D-EDGE Hospitality Solutions has acquired the Parisian digital marketing agency Equaero.
As a Google Premier Partner, Equaero’s expertise encompasses digital advertising techniques such as search, display and social ads as well as SEO.
It is also one of the few such agencies to have developed an in-house technology platform for campaign tracking and reporting, and deep integration with key players in the digital media industry, such as Google. , Bing, Yahoo Japan, etc.
Pierre-Charles Grob, CEO of D-Edge, says: “Our mission is to ensure that our customers have all the resources they need to optimize their digital distribution.
“As a leading provider of CRS, D-Edge is one of the few hotel technology players to offer a full suite of solutions including digital marketing and website building. This strategy has proven successful for our customers with more and more hotels and chains having adopted MediaGenius, the first multi-channel hotel platform for digital media.