Expedia to display fare families, fare forecasts, and status-eligible seats
Today Expedia Inc said that its online travel agencies Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Hotwire will gradually roll out new flight search tools that display the total price (inclusive of typical fees and amenities) upfront.
The Bellevue-based giant also plans to add fare predictions and intends to display status-eligible seats for members of frequent flier programs.
Estimated fees for checking a piece of luggage and for cancelling a booking will now appear early in the search process on Expedia-owned sites.
Later this year, the so-called “Upgrade Options” will also include fees for ancillary products like seat choice.
Expedia’s new functionality will attempt to present in an apples-to-apples comparison of fare bundles, or fare families, in which airlines package several ancillary services along with the base fare into a single price.
As of today, some Delta flights in the US and some Airberlin flights in Europe are displaying the fare bundles:
By the end of the year, Expedia will also begin selling seat upgrades on some partner airlines. When users click to see a seat map, they’ll see the options to purchase priority seating, larger seats, or reserved seats — just as if they were booking on the website of an airline offering such upgrades.
Looking ahead, the OTA giant is striving to make the back-end tech connections so that a traveler’s frequent flier program number will pull in a seat map that shows seats that are eligible for status upgrades.
Until now, travelers had to do a lot of clicking before seeing the true cost of a flight, after fees. (Priceline Group sites still use that model.) Expedia says it will add a baggage fee calculator, too, replacing its less intuitive list of bag fees as a static webpage.
Expedia also said it would start aggregating fares and display fare trends over the past couple weeks, copying a move popularized by metasearch sites FareCompare and Kayak.
It also plans to add airfare predictions. Customers will be given a sense of how much today’s fares have risen or fallen in the past couple of weeks for a particular destination.
These pricing forecasts sound like they will be similar to what metasearch site Kayak introduced three years ago.
The tool will also estimate the chances of price rises in the next week, in a move similar to what startups like Flyr and Farecast have attempted.
Delta’s participation as a launch partner for this Expedia functionality is notable. Last year, Delta removed its fares from TripAdvisor’s metasearch tool, and the carrier has had several initiatives to drive more bookings directly to its own site.
The functionality relies on support from global distribution systems (GDSs). Expedia didn’t reveal which ones, but it works with all three major GDSs: Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport.
Separately, metasearch sites Kayak and Skycanner have said they have been working on using technologies that are similar conceptually to enable the display of fare bundles like the ones that Airberlin, Air Canada, American, Delta, Lufthansa, WestJet, and other airlines have debuted.http://www.hotelglobe.net/expedia-to-display-fare-families-fare-forecasts-and-status-eligible-seats/http://www.hotelglobe.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/upgrade-options-delta-expedia-inc-final2.jpghttp://www.hotelglobe.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/upgrade-options-delta-expedia-inc-final2-150x150.jpgBest Hotels