Expedia may be one of the largest travel companies in the world, with websites in many countries and regions, but it still relies on a reseller network.
According to Expedia Affiliate Network A/NZ director, Raphael Lanfant, supporting the reseller network is the role of the Affiliate Network sub-brand.
“It provides travel solutions to third party websites that want to sell bookings on their sites using their own brand,” he said.
Lanfant said there is no mention of Expedia on the reseller’s site, as it is not about pushing the Expedia brand but providing technology that helps partners access inventory to be resold on the site.
One network Expedia Affiliate Network deals with is commercials airlines, with the Australia partner being Tiger and Peach in Japan.
In the US, the partners are United, Delta and American Airlines, while in Europe it is Air France, Norwegian and Swiss Airlines.
“All of these airlines access our solutions and reseller channel to maximise their auxiliary revenue,” Lanfant said.
In addition to airlines, Expedia Affiliate Network works with online travel agencies, and Lanfant admits that this puts them somewhat into competition with Expedia.com.
“One local partner in Australia is Webjet, do if you book on their site, we have an XML feed plug-in in the backend that is used to push content,” he said.
“They then reorganise that information and use their own search algorithm.”
Lanfant responsibility is to manage the relationships of all partners in Australia, and in turn ensuring that solutions are scaled and built for clients to “resell, consume and make money” from Expedia Affiliate Network’s data inventory.
“Not only do we have the biggest platform aimed at the travel sector, but we are also the most specifically organised to provide solutions to resellers,” he said.
“It is a dedicated business unit with its own set of solutions designed to boost bookings with the help of partners.”
Helping the big ones
The travel industry’s move to the online space is often viewed by industry pundits as a reasonably protracted one, though Expedia Affiliate Network technology vice-president, Eachan Fletcher, said that it is not dependant on the industry itself.
“There are some innovative and high tech companies out there in travel, such Kayak.com, and there are a lot of start-ups in the travel space doing interesting things,” he said.
However, since the travel industry is an old and established one, Fletcher admits there is a certain amount of legacy that is “sometimes hard to overcome for the big players.”
One of the ways Expedia Affiliate Network is attempting to alleviate that is by using its systems with simple APIs.
“We can allow those bigger companies to leapfrog from where they are with a legacy system out to getting some of the newer technology out there,” he said.
“They can get those easily straight away from our APIs instead of having to go through a long development process.”
Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.