A dramatic shift towards online merchandising is being spearheaded by online travel agencies (OTAs) new research reveals.
The Amadeus IT Group saw an 85% increase in the amount of ancillaries sold via travel agencies in the first nine months of the year.
There are three times more OTAs integrating ancillary services as part of their overall offering in 2015 compared to last year.
The trend suggests that the OTA sector is becoming a big player in the merchandising market, according to Amadeus.
As many as 15 out of every 100 air bookings by OTAs include an ancillary sale, with that figure rising to 30 or 40 for certain carriers.
A sample of 63 airlines generated a total of $38.1 billion through ancillary sales last year, which equates to $17.5 per passenger, with year-over-year growth of 21%.
A year ago only 11 OTAs offered integrated ancillaries; a figure expected to more than double to 30 by the end of 2015, Amadeus projects.
The move is being driven by Expedia, eDreams ODIGEO, Fareportal/CheapOair, Logitravel, Voyage Prive and Tripsta.
Amadeus merchandising and personalistion associate director, Pedro Espin, said the change was being fuelled by customer demand, prompting a “significant number” of airlines to made ancillary content available in the GDS.
“Online travel agencies constantly need to improve their user experience to stay competitive. If I want to book a window seat or bring one extra bag, and an OTA does not give me that option, I can find another travel vendor in just a few clicks,” Espin added.
“The selling of merchandising is the first step that OTAs are taking in offering travellers great personalisation in their air bookings. This trend will benefit everyone – travellers, OTAs and airlines.”