Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Expedia and John Lewis - triggering new relationships?

An intriguing initiative for Expedia today and the announcement of its collaboration with UK High Street retail giant John Lewis.

The home furnishing and gift expert has launched an offshoot brand – the bizarrely titled Greenbee.com – targeting consumers with insurance, food ideas, gigs and theatres tickets, sport events and travel.

Expedia is will act as a partner for the travel section on the site and offer the usual OTA fare, such as flights, hotels, dynamic packaging and car hire.

This is the first time Expedia has struck such a deal with a High Street retailer and follows others – through its Private Label business – with Eurostar, Formula1.com and Swiss Airlines.

It’s an interesting move for Expedia amid speculation, despite its size and brand strength, that the direct suppliers – airlines, hotels and tour operators – are finally getting their act together and scooping off some of the OTA’s share of the online pie.

Lastminute.com’s Online Travel Corporation powers travel services for Tesco, so some senior figures in the industry are arguing that perhaps this is where the next area of growth will come for the OTAs.

Minds wander back to April, when Tesco.com chief executive Laura Wade-Gery spent almost the entire day at the Travolution Summit, triggering whisper upon whisper about why she was mingling with travel people.

Tesco, based on its recent soaring profits, could afford to create its own OTA altogether!

It does, in fact, make a lot of sense for retailers to align themselves with travel companies, especially OTAs, as consumers increasingly turn to the web for products.

Once upon a time it would be physically and often economically impossible for a retailer to bring in a travel agent – or even an agency – into an existing shop, but the web has effectively allowed a complete service to be installed in every store.

Not sure Expedia and John Lewis are the most obvious fit in terms of brand?

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

it is not the most obvious fit, no. but a cruical first step to expanding the expedia brand.

defintely expect to see movement in this area... the potential alliances are ten-fold.

thomson and asda
marks & spencers and kuoni
HMV and travelsupermarket
morrisons and flightcentre/gold medal

Darren Cronian said...

Going places I understand have an link with Asda, because in the large Asda stories, Going places have a branch.

It makes sense to expand a brand this way, especially with so many people now shopping at the likes of Asda rather than the high street.

Not sure about a link with HMV and Travelsupermarket though ;-)

Steve E said...

And I can think of a better fit with Marks & Spencers than the terminally boring Kuoni...