Sale of ancillary products still a major topic of debate
Travelport expects to roll out a B2B2C product later this year, by which agencies can send a detailed itinerary containing images, information and live links, allowing customers to access and purchase add-ons during the rest of the travel cycle, TTG Asia reports from a Travelport APAC customer and partner conference in Bali.
Aimed at making ancillary purchases hassle-free, the itinerary product supports social media integration and will also come in a white-label version for branding.
“[It] is driven by the travel consultants’ and airlines’ desire to serve customers. Airlines want to effectively continue the selling experience with passengers the whole way through, until they get home,” said Damian Hickey, Travelport’s vice president for distribution sales & services.
The sale of ancillary products is still a major topic of debate among airlines, travel consultants and GDS providers.
“Travel consultants are starting to book ancillaries on the GDS. This is one area in which the industry needs to work together on. Travel consultants need to be able to book ancillaries in a very efficient manner or the customer will go to another travel consultant or the airline direct,” Ian Heywood, Travelport vice president for global supplier strategy and GDSs, tells TTG Asia.
Travelport currently has 24 airlines selling 50 different ancillary types across 178 countries. Within the last eight months it has signed on the major LCCs Ryanair, AirAsia and Tigerair.
“Ancillary revenues are very important to airlines – which don’t make a lot of money – and are estimated to reach US$45 billion next year. If you take them away from the airlines they would be making losses everywhere,” Heywood said.
Asked what the weirdest ancillary item is in the Travelport inventory, Heywood replied: Space to transport a hang-glider. And pets.