Expedia is planning to unify its loyalty program across all its brands, according to a new CNBC report. The company, which owns the Expedia, Hotels.com, Vrbo, Travelocity, and Orbitz brands, is expected to launch a streamlined rewards program in 2022.
Expedia Streamlining Rewards Program Across All Brands
Expedia is one of the most prominent names in online travel. The company, founded in 1996, controls nearly half the online travel booking market, with only Booking.com rivaling Expedia for market share. However, despite what many consumers might believe, Expedia.com is not the company’s only travel booking portal.
The company also owns Vrbo, Travelocity, Hotels.com, and Orbitz – all of which have their own unique customer loyalty schemes. These unique programs help provide an element of distinctness – and a perception that each brand is a separate entity. That illusion, however, is set to crumble if a new CNBC report is accurate.
A new report states that Expedia is planning to unify its loyalty programs across all brands. All four existing sites will offer a streamlined rewards system, with the program servicing the 145 million members total in the current four program system.
“It’s Better for Travelers”
According to Expedia, the move is designed to help make life easier for travelers. “I have a stack of logins and loyalty cards, and soon it just won’t be necessary because I’m going to earn benefits whether I’m renting a car, booking a flight, or reserving a hotel room,” said Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands, in an interview with CNBC.
“Our (new) loyalty program will offer members the opportunity to earn and redeem points across all Expedia Group brands, even those brands, like Vrbo, that didn’t have loyalty programs before,” Gieselman said. “A customer will be able to earn points for their Vrbo vacation rental and redeem it on an Expedia car rental, for example. It’s better for travelers, and there’s an added benefit of making our partners’ inventory more visible to new customers for future bookings. It’s going to be simpler and more flexible.”
“Entirely Focused on the Best Customer Outcomes”
The move to one program might come as a shock to some customers who thought Vrbo, Hotels.com, Travelocity, and other brands were rivals – but Expedia thinks it is vital to inform customers – and make their travel lives easier.
“There was a time when our brands did compete against each other in the marketplace and that, to a certain extent, was part of the strategy,” Gieselman said. “We are now entirely focused on the best customer outcomes and bringing a more unified experience across our brands.” While no launch date for the new Expedia program is available, the company expects to launch the loyalty scheme in 2022.
Expedia is one of the largest travel booking companies on the planet. The Expedia Group includes CarRentals.com, CheapTickets, ebookers, Egencia, Expedia, Expedia Cruises, Expedia Group Media Solutions, Expedia Local Expert, Expedia Partner Solutions, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, trivago, Vrbo and Wotif. Expedia Group also features co-branded credit cards with Wels Fargo (the Hotels.com® Rewards Visa®), Citi (the Expedia® Rewards Voyager Card and Expedia® Rewards Card, and Comenity (the Orbitz Rewards® Visa®).
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