Expedia.ca competes in tight mobile travel sector with loyalty program
Expedia.ca, the Canadian branch of the travel conglomerate, is ramping up to drive sales of hotel rooms, trip packages, car rentals and other leisure activities by enticing consumers to join mobile-optimized loyalty platform Expedia+, a tactic that is imperative for any travel marketer.
As the space for mobile booking platforms continues to grow tighter, Expedia is aiming to increase its reach as a whole with acquisitions of Travelocity and Orbitz, which add more properties and activities to its already-large portfolio. However, mobile loyalty programs are becoming requisite for any brand in the travel sector, as the additional rewards and perks may be what sways a consumer to book via a specific site or app.
“Today, virtually all travelers use at least one mobile device,” said Sean Shannon, managing director of Expedia Canada, Toronto, Canada. “Most have more than one, and they expect to be treated the same way across all touch points.
“Providing Expedia+ members this choice and control is at the heart of what Expedia.ca is all about, so ensuring that Canadians have the ability to earn rewards points even when booking through a mobile device was a no brainer. In fact, we encourage members to book on their mobile by offering 3X the points when bookings are made with our Expedia Travel App.”
The Expedia+ loyalty program is attempting to differentiate itself from others by enabling members to use more than one program simultaneously. Users may collect points while booking flights with any of the 400 airlines affiliated with the company or 425,000 hotel properties around the world.
Most importantly, Canadian consumers can use the Expedia+ program in conjunction with other rewards platforms, enabling them to potentially receive double or triple the amount of rewards points.
The decision to roll out the platform came from a recent study that Expedia.ca commissioned, which showed that Canadian customers heavily rely on travel rewards programs to fulfill their travel goals. Sixty nine percent of Canadians were revealed to belong to a travel rewards platform, with another 68 percent claiming they would be interested in joining another one.
“Moreover, not only can members earn points when booking for themselves, but they can also earn when booking for others,” Mr. Shannon said. “And of course when booking on our mobile apps Expedia+ members can triple their points.
“So you can see the earning potential provided by the program is very rich.”
Expedia.ca, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, aimed to make the program as cross-device friendly as possible, acknowledging that most consumers use at least one mobile device to browse, shop or research potential vacations. Therefore, the Expedia+ program, as well as the entire site, is optimized for each device to ensure a streamlined experience for customers using multiple channels to interact with the brand.
Members of Expedia+ will also gain access to the Marketplace page, bearing exclusive deals, promotions and benefits to help individuals save on their dream trips or increase rewards points. The travel brand also enables users to redeem their points in a variety of ways, from booking travel for themselves or a family member or friend, to donating rewards to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in an effort to find cancer cures.
Coca-Cola is another brand leveraging a loyalty program that allows members to submit rewards points to different charities and causes (see story).
Expedia+ users can also receive special access to hotel benefits via the +VIP Access logo, such as spa credits, complimentary breakfast and free select room upgrades for gold members.
Expedia.ca hopes that the loyalty platform will benefit the amount of consumers choosing to book hotels, accommodation and transportation via mobile devices, as well as retain its fan base of customers as the booking app sector grows more competitive.
“As Canada’s leading full-service online travel provider, we wanted to offer a program that thanks our customers for their continued loyalty,” Mr. Shannon said. “Moreover, with being a leader comes the responsibility of having to continually offer the best value to our customers – Expedia+ is yet another example of how Expedia.ca is continually evolving our value proposition to do just that.
“All this points to our hope that by offering our customers a valuable program that provides tangible benefits, they’ll keep relying on us time and again to fulfill their vacation needs.”
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York