September 30, 2022

How Online Travel Planning Is Getting Easier

Expedia Group wants your loyalty. Named for its flagship online travel agency, Expedia, the collection of travel companies includes the online agencies Travelocity and Orbitz, the vacation rental platform Vrbo, the hotel discount booking site Hotwire.com, the rental car site CarRentals.com and more. In early 2023, it plans to unite them under One Key, a loyalty program spanning its 12 brands, meaning points earned booking a flight on Expedia could be applied to the cost of a future rental on Vrbo.

“It’s so hard for people to keep track of programs and rewards,” said Jon Gieselman, the president of Expedia Brands, the consumer division of the group, who added that the idea of an integrated loyalty program occurred to him when he opened his own travel wallet stuffed with dozens of membership program and credit cards.

“It struck me that our superpower opportunity was to create connections between all of our brands in the minds of customers and at the same time make it easy to make sense of disparate programs,” he added.

A few of the brands, including Expedia, Orbitz and Hotels.com, already have loyalty programs — with a collective enrollment of 154 million members — and the company has not yet disclosed conversion formulas or One Key’s rates for earning and using points.

While most loyalty programs encourage members to stay with one brand, One Key will allow users to apply points across categories in a scheme Mr. Gieselman called the “unloyalty program,” making it distinct from competitors.

“Expedia’s expanded loyalty offering can draw more people to the brand umbrella with flexible options to earn and burn points on whichever Expedia brand offers the most fitting options for a given trip,” said Ms. List of Phocuswright, adding that the loyalty program eases “friction” between Expedia brands that often overlap.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/17/travel/online-travel-planning.html

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