The UK and Australia will be the first markets outside of north America to see cruise added to Expedia ‘s website following the implementation of new technology.
Cruise is likely to be added to Expedia’s UK site late in 2016 or by early 2017, Greg Schulze, senior vice president, global tour and transport, revealed at this week’s partner conference in Las Vegas.
Last week cruising’s mainstream appeal was underlined by UK OTA Travel Republic adding cruise to its website for the first time through a partnership with fellow dnata Travel brand Imagine Cruising.
On its US site Expedia offers online cruise booking, unlike Travel Republic which will convert offline directing customers to call dedicated agents for the brand in the Imagine Cruising call centre.
Schulze said: “We have a big cruise business in the US and Canada and we have focused our efforts there. We have just completed a platform migration and this year we are going to focus on international expansion.
“The UK and Australia are the first two markets for expansion for cruise and then we will see what other opportunities there are.”
Schulze’s role is being moved overseas to Singapore where he said he would work to help support Expedia’s cruise line partners in an emerging market for cruising they are investing heavily in.
Expedia will also look to develop its packages offering having already introduced premium packages allowing customer to link hotel says with first or business class flying.
The OTA has also been making “significant investment” in ancillary airline sales, said Schulze, with the launch of bundled fares and links in emails directing clients to add-on products on airline sites.
Advances have also been made in insurance in working out what products customer want which has seen a doubling of attachment of polices to travel product in recent years.