While it will cost the company money, Expedia Group’s US$275m partner plan is worth the hit for increased partner engagement, which will be essential for post-pandemic recovery, says GlobalData, a leading data & analytics company.
Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData says: “During this battle with COVID-19, a lack of collaboration has been evident across the tourism industry supply chain with issues such as refunds, cancellations and unfair booking policies tarnishing the reputations of online travelagencies (OTAs) not only among consumers but also among suppliers.”
The main aspects of the plan include US$250m in marketing credits and reduced commission payments to hoteliers. The advertising arm Expedia Group Media Solutions will provide US$25m for destinations to launch marketing campaigns and training and educational programs will be invested available for furloughed and displaced staff.
Bonhill-Smith continues: “A total 49% of global travelers want to hear news about initiatives adopted by a brand, according to GlobalData’s latest COVID-19 coronavirus survey. With Expedia’s plan focusing on industry partners, destinations and the wider industry to aid recovery, this plan not only provides an opportunity for positive PR but will without doubt bring industry partners closer together – strengthening Expedia’s position in the future marketplace.”
Other travel companies such as Airbnb have also announced a partner recovery plan – the company rolled out a US$260m coronavirus relief package for hosts. Booking Holdings has not yet declared any such plan but stated it is working with partners to enhance services to aid consumer demand– something may be likely in the near future.
Bonhill-Smith concludes: “Over the next few weeks, travel agents should be working on not only healing relationships with consumers but also suppliers, as they will play a critical role in future travel recovery. Increased partner engagement post COVID-19 will put a company in a stronger positon in the post-pandemic market place”.