Yes in fact we work with around 40 airlines across the globe to provide them with a variety of different tools to access our global inventory of hotels.
This includes some of the world’s most well-known airlines such as Air Canada and WestJet, LATAM, American Airlines and Spirit Airlines in the Americas, Singapore Airlines in Asia-Pacific, and Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways in the UK. From low cost carriers (LCCs) to more traditional and even luxurious brand airlines, we service customers with all types of budget.
So what kind of solutions are we offering them? Our partnerships with these leading airlines vary in terms of the level of exclusivity and also from a connectivity and operations perspective. For example, some airlines opt for a hotel-only white label solution that they place on their websites. Others integrate us into their existing websites via API connectivity. Some sign-up just for preferential rates for their cabin crew when they do a stop-over internationally.
At the top-of-the-range end, some sign-up for a full dynamic packing solution where we become their tour operator and act as merchant and fulfil all services. This is something we currently do for both easyJet Holidays and for Singapore Airline Holidays. And we have many more airlines in the pipeline for this year!
But essentially the end result is the same: we offer airlines the chance to book the hotels of our partners.
And what kind of hotel bookings do passengers with these airlines make? In our experience our hotel partners value such bookings very highly as they typically have two attractive qualities. Firstly they bring non-domestic bookings; and secondly they bring guests that tend to book further in advance, pay more, cancel less, stay longer, spend more in-destination, and cancel less. Who doesn´t want a distribution channel like that? We even run regular joint promotional campaigns with airlines, which is proving a great source of exposure for participating hotels.
This is a fast-growing part of our business as airlines are increasingly under more pressure to boost margins by cross-selling their customers ancillary services and hotel accommodation is a profitable route for them. Unlike an OTA we make a great partner for an airline as we don’t compete with them in the direct channel for flight bookings, so airlines are always pleased to work with us.
For this reason it is not unsurprising that we are seeing an increase in not only the number of airlines signing up for these solutions, but the volumes that each airline books with our hotel partners.
Next time you are booking a flight with your favourite airline and they offer you an accommodation solution, ask yourself how and where they are sourcing the inventory from – and whether or not your hotel could benefit from the same treatment?