Rich content opens up revenue options

THE new generation of rich content technology available to online travel agents can increase their ability to up-sell and boost revenue, according to provider Travelport.

Early adopters of rich content and branding features have reported increased income and a greater willingness from clients to purchase higher fare categories, the company says, thanks largely to the ability to display fares and ancillary products in more detail and greater clarity.

Travelport senior director OTA Asia-Pacific Ming Foong said it was now possible for travel agency websites to display similar information to airlines’ own websites, offering content such as video, pictures, detailed descriptions, ancillary items and product-specific branding.

Agencies were no longer limited to basic GDS information, he said, which limited the consumer’s ability to choose specific fare products and understand their limitations.

“Most GDS systems at the moment would serve an economy class as just an economy class, there’s very little to provide difference or sell messaging,” Foong said.

“Different airlines might offer Economy Flex, Economy Plus or just Pure Economy — these are all different ways airlines are trying to bundle or unbundle different products and a lot of them are branded and have specific names,” he said.

“We saw an opportunity to channel that content benefit over to the consumer via the agencies – the agencies want to offer what the airlines are offering via other channels like their own websites.”

New Australian online travel agency last year became the first retailer in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding product, giving it access to branded fares and ancillary products from 200 airlines.

The website’s owner and chief operating officer Scott Mayne said his company was able to offer flexible fare options and a more transparent view of inclusions in each fare category.

“We’ve found with the Rich Content and Branding that people are clicking through to a more flexible or higher fare type, which shows they really do understand what they’re purchasing,” Mayne said.

“I could see the value in the product,” he said. “It has proved itself — we’re seeing people upgrade and being able to get more out of their airfares.”