While it will cost the company money, Expedia’s partner plan is worth the hit for increased partner engagement, which will be essential for post-pandemic recovery.
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 travel agencies (OTAs) not only among consumers but also among suppliers.
The main aspects of the plan include $250 million in marketing credits and reduced commission payments to hoteliers. The advertising arm Expedia Group Media Solutions will provide $25 million for destinations to launch marketing campaigns and training and educational programs will be invested available for furloughed and displaced staff.
A total 49% of global travelers want to hear news about initiatives adopted by a brand, according to industry’s latest COVID-19 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 $260 million 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.
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 position in the post-pandemic industry.