TORONTO — For Expedia Group, yesterday’s open house was about more than just showcasing its beautiful Toronto office to its VIP partners. It was also an opportunity to share exciting new updates that will make it easier for Expedia TAAP travel advisors to book and build trips.
Expedia TAAP (Travel Agent Affiliate Program), an agent-friendly online booking platform with competitive commissions on multiple lines of businesses, has grown exponentially since launching in Canada in 2010. Today, the program actively supports over 37,000 travel agencies and more than 100,000 travel advisors across 32 countries, including Canada, with advisors booking over 2.3 million trips and experiences for their clients in 2022 alone.
At yesterday’s Toronto event, part of a cross-Canada series that also included open houses in Montreal and Vancouver, the Expedia TAAP team celebrated its many successes with approximately 100 guests. Rebecca Cregan, TAAP Commercial Director – North America, tells Travelweek that in Q1 in 2023, Expedia Group saw “strong growth in our B2B business, driven by an expanding partner base and growth from our existing partners,” and that its overall B2B business, of which TAAP is part of, grew by 55% compared to the same quarter in 2022.
“Our team has been pleased to see the strong recovery since the pandemic. At Expedia Group, one of our core objectives is enabling growth for our B2B partners, with travel advisors playing a central role in this. We continue to invest in TAAP, and with that comes looking at other locations where we can provide advisors access,” says Cregan.
In June 2022, Expedia Group announced that it would be expanding Expedia TAAP to an additional 53 new markets in the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, giving more travel advisors access to a broad range of travel offerings, including hotels, vacation rentals, flights, car rentals, cruises and activities, as well as a suite of tools and technology like ‘Virtual Agent,’ which allows them to search for information and modify bookings at their leisure.
On the heels of this rapid expansion, Expedia Group is now in the midst of launching a new shopping experience for its travel advisors, making it easier than ever to find the right properties at the right rate for their clients.
“With the new shopping experience, our partners can spend less time shopping and easily compare different rates in one single view,” says Cregan. “They will be able to see at a glance rate conditions, cancellation policies and the commission they could earn per rate.”
Cregan adds that Expedia TAAP will also debut a new dynamic map that makes it easier for advisors to locate properties in their clients’ desired area, In addition, travel advisors will be able to create and share customizable quotes for their clients with information on up to four different properties or rate types. And coming soon for select partners is a deferred payment option that will give clients a way to book now, pay later and secure better lodging rates by making reservations earlier with no down payment upfront.
Many of these new updates, says Cregan, were a direct result of feedback from TAAP advisors and can be found at the program’s new URL, www.ExpediaTAAP.ca. This move, she adds, “allows our team to build more travel agent-specific features and is designed to deliver a better and more consistent booking experience for travel agents.”
It’s because of innovations like these that Expedia TAAP has been able to survive and thrive during these last three very challenging years. With the main goal of “getting money into agents’ pockets at a faster rate,” Cregan says that Expedia Group fast-tracked membership to Silver tier during the pandemic, increasing agents’ earnings potential and empowering them to earn up to 42% more in revenue. In addition, the company also implemented the Expedia flexible policy, allowing eligible bookings to be converted to ‘refundable,’ or be eligible for an Expedia TAAP coupon.
“As the travel industry moves forward, we want our agents to know we’re here to help. Whether it’s by using our self-service booking manager to modify reservations online, our mobile-friendly, AI-powered chatbot for self-service of trip management tasks, or our 24/7 worldwide support in several languages, we’ve got our partners covered,” says Cregan. “No matter what stage of the booking journey, there are support agents in over 40 countries available online or on the phone to help before, during and after their travellers’ trips.”
For more information about Expedia TAAP, go to www.ExpediaTAAP.ca.