Expedia Affiliate Network is beta-testing new cross-selling technology designed to offer clients incremental income on sales of non-core product.
Smart Cross Sell has been developed to allow partners like airlines to sell complementary product like hotel beds in a discreet way without interrupting the core buying process.
Benoit Jolin, EAN vice-president global product and marketing, said: “Airlines are looking more and more for ways to make money outside of buying the ticket.
“But this must be done in a way that respects the needs of the partner and does not disrupt the central purchasing path.”
The technology kicks in at the point of confirmation of the flight booking, using customer data to come up with the most relevant hotel option based on user and purchase profiles in real time.
Jolin said the firm was working with a pilot airline partner to build the technology, although he would not reveal which one.
He said airlines are poised to become a big focus for the network in the next 12 to 24 months and a dedicated commercial team has been put together to engage the sector.
“We are orienting our product development to meet their needs, to pay closer attention to airline needs than we have in the past.
“Maybe in the past we focused on scale, but now we are trying to become a bit more granular to meet the precise needs of our partners.”
As well as the cross selling technology EAN is building functionality to allow it to offer preferred hotel rates to large strategic partners when “the economies justify”, Jolin added.
This week EAN also announced the completion of a deal with Australasia online travel agent Webjet to provide content to its new hotel portal.
The deal means Webjet will have access to Expedia’s 145,000 hotels worldwide through the EAN API platform.
Agreement came after Webjet conducted a live experiment by creating branded and non-branded sites then sending traffic to both.
The Webjet-branded site saw twice the number of purchases, and at a higher value, as well as twice the traffic than the non-Webjet site.
Webjet managing director John Guscic, said: “We now know consumers are comfortable with the proposition of transacting with Webjet Hotels.
“We see huge potential in this market and, combined with the compelling offer of inventory and prices from Expedia Affiliate Network, there’s a fantastic opportunity for us to become a leading player in the hotel bookings market within Asia Pacific and beyond.”