Flexible fares are the future for flights, says Expedia

Flexible fares are the future for flights, says Expedia

Global online travel agency (OTA), Expedia, has recently launched its new update which focuses on providing flights that aren’t necessarily the cheapest, but best suit the traveller.

It tracks, predicts and monitors flight prices and times to best serve travellers looking for flexible fares.

This update, which was announced at Expedia’s conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, comes as the aviation industry around the world struggles with flight delays, cancellations and missing luggage.

“Smart shopping historically in OTA has been fairly commoditised,” Expedia’s VP of global air partnerships, Julie Kyse said.

“The cheapest prices come first and it’s always the leading price. So as airlines have become more and more focused on revenue, managing and introducing bundles, or taking elements out of fares, it’s become more important for us to make sure that travellers know what their fare entails.”

“We’ve worked towards more of an attribute lead selling process. That could mean that we’re not always going to sell the cheapest fare, which is good for the airlines, it’s good for the traveller and it’s good for Expedia,” Kyse said.

The update features more visibility on price tracking and forecasts for Expedia users. This quite heavily involves flexible fares, which the OTA has been working with major airlines to establish.

Julie Kyse – VP global air partnerships at Expedia

“More and more travellers are choosing to pay a little bit more for a flexible fare,” Kyse said. “And if they cancel flights, that creates credits. So credits have been something that the industry has had to deal with like a new thing. There was not this massive number of credits out there before COVID.”

“Our systems at the beginning of COVID probably weren’t built to cope very well with mass cancellations. But over the course of the last two years, we’ve built those out.”

As Expedia developed these systems, it worked with airlines and airports to establish policies to enable more seamless travel.

“We feel like we’re in a pretty good position. We’ve also negotiated with the airlines to have good policies that make it easier to remove friction from the travellers when they do have a schedule change that allows us to easily rebook the travellers.”

The update has been implemented in the United States and will be available in Australia after it has been tested in the US.

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