Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The API, the no frills carrier, the surcharge and the OTA

So last week we discovered that easyJet is – at last – appearing to be willing to work with OTAs on an official and direct connection into its fares and availability engine.

This follows its tie-in with a number of technology companies and GDSs to enable third party bookings.

This is, of course, the antithesis to Ryanair’s (current) policy.

EasyJet’s move delights many (especially the no-frills carrier itself, and the tech firms getting the glory of having the coveted easyJet API), but is still raising concerns throughout the industry.

The consternation raised by some – privately most of the time – is that easyJet takes a surcharge on the booking fee for using the API.

Some tech companies are actively avoiding the temptation to sign up to the API simply because their customers are so against paying the surcharge.

Which is fair enough.

A decent source on the tech side adds this to equation:

“There is a general feeling going around that easyJet will start pushing their dynamic packaging product a lot more going forward and this means that they want to stop other companies from competing with them.”

“Or if they do, easyJet wants to make sure that they get a share of the additional revenue generated by dynamic packaging their flights (the "POS fee").”

Throw all this into the widely held belief that the new easyJet site will be focused on more than simply providing flights (ie. full service, OTA-style approach) and the strategy becomes clearer: access at a price, but come to our site for a better experience.

There is no doubt that this is just the latest example of how airlines (given the right partnerships and vastly improved user experience) are at least acting like they are desperate to become more than just suppliers of a single and simple product, like an airfare.

The final point to consider is that – sharp intake of breath – will consumers care, or notice?

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

Technorati tags:

No comments: