WHY IT RATES: Expedia Group continues to support its travel advisor partners in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor
Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS), unlocking the power of Expedia Group for partners globally, today announced it will extend its package rates to all Expedia TAAP partners, as well as guarantee the retention of their 2020 tier – Platinum, Gold or Silver – through to the end of 2021. Both initiatives are designed to support the travel agent community that has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the last year.
“As a partner to thousands of travel agents – big and small – across the world, we know they have a major role to play in getting the travel industry back on its feet,” says Robin Lawther, Senior Director of Expedia TAAP, EPS. “The tier retention program and package rate extension are the latest in a series of steps we have taken to support the industry during this challenging time and help travel agents to recover as travel demand returns.”
Expedia TAAP package rates had previously only been available to a select group of partners – Silver tier and above. However, the decision to extend the program to all tiers, a first for the sector, means thousands more TAAP partners will be able to offer the travelers they serve an average discount of 20 percent on accommodation when booked alongside a transport component. Travelers who book these package rates tend to have a longer booking window and cancel less often than standalone bookings.
Expedia TAAP has also launched a tier retention program for 2021, which will allow over 10,000 TAAP partner agencies to keep their 2020 tier for a further 12 months. The program will ensure that travel agents, who have already experienced a decline in annual bookings due to the drop in demand, will not move down to a lower partner tier or receive a reduced commission as a result.
Today’s announcement is part of a wider package of measures that Expedia TAAP has introduced to help support its travel agent partners in the wake of COVID-19. This past year, the company made 70 percent of their rates refundable by reclassifying a vast majority of non-refundable rates, helping agents provide more flexibility and reassurance to their customers.
Expedia TAAP also built out additional self-service functionality that allows agents to cancel bookings themselves instead of calling the Expedia service center – giving them more choice when it comes to accessing the support they need. Expedia Group also launched a COVID advisory service that provides travel agents with on-demand advice for travelers trying to navigate the rapidly changing travel environment.
SOURCE: Expedia Group press release.