EasyJet distribution development manager Jerry Dunn has outlined the low-cost carrier’s plans to adopt a multi-channel approach and develop a network of EasyJet-approved third party distributors.
Speaking at the Travolution conference in London, Dunn said easyJet, which is now Europe’s fourth largest airline, is still primarily a leisure airline, but has plans to attract a growing business clientele.
“We have developed an application programming interface (API), which is effectively a pipe from our host system which will engage with the third party distributors we want to use,” Dunn said.”
“That will be available in the first quarter of 2008. However, it won’t be aimed at leisure third parties, but only to corporates.”
Dunn believes the move, to counter screen-scraping from unauthorised third parties will enable easyJet to have a more structured data interface, and reinforce easyJet’s own direct-distribution mantra.
“Direct distribution is best because it enables us to manage the customer relationship. But we are casting our net wider through selected third party distributors, where our criteria will be a corporate focus, and the need to be creative, because easyJet will always be creative. We do not pay for referrals from third parties, because we believe they need us more than we need them.”
Dunn said easyJet was maturing and though it is not experienced in a multi-channel approach to distribution, it is altering its approach, although direct distribution is still its preferred method of engaging the customer, with 98% of its sales through the Net.
“We are still a low cost carrier and we need to get the message across that we are cheaper that others. We have always had a website that is designed to get the job done, and we are planning an upgrade of the site in the next year. Already however, we are monetising the site through the sale of hotel room agreements with Hotelopia and insurance through Mondial.”