Ebookers has recorded “double-digit increases” in its hotel room nights booked and dynamic packaging transactions during the third quarter of 2009.
The increase in hotel room nights was 43% year-on-year, according to Barney Harford, chief executive of ebookers’ parent company Orbitz Worldwide. The increase in dynamic packaging transactions was not quantified.
Talking to analysts on Orbitz’ Q3 earnings call this week, Harford explained that ebookers was seeing the benefits of its migration onto Orbitz’ global platform. “We’re reducing our dependancy on third parties to supply the inventory,” he said, “which was a relic of our relationship with GTA and Travelport. We’re now starting to optimise the relationship we have with the new hotels.”
Another benefit from having ebookers on the same platform as Orbitz is that conversion rates have started to improve. Harford talked about the overall business being “better able to concentrate on the retail experience our customers have” now that the technical efforts of the company have moved away from working on the migration.
Improving conversion rates is also part of another of Harford’s aims for the business, which is moving away from loss-making paid search initiatives and ramping up its SEO and CRM efforts. It dropped its spend marketing spend in the quarter by 44%.
Another focus for Harford and Orbitz is hotels, although he insisted that ebookers will remain a full-service online travel agency. When asked how ebookers was doing compared with booking.com, Harford said that the two brands were different because “dynamic packaging and airline seats are a key part of what ebookers offers the market.” On these terms, he insisted that ebookers’ “competitive position has significantly improved”.