TTME AUGUST 2018 - PG - 9-2ND STORY

Wego enables ROIs for airlines

Wego enables airlines to have a greater visibility online with access to a wider direct customer base. Dean Wicks, Chief Flights Officer, Wego, talks about how the travel search engine empowers airlines to sell more seats and showcase their brand offering to a much wider audience.

Wego is an aggregator and distributor of content for both flight and hotel providers. The travel search engine shops the marketplace of suppliers and OTAs (Online Travel Agents) with availability of carrier direct options for consumers to make an unbiased choice. “For flights, we combine all the information from different suppliers of the particular flight onto one rate card. This allows the consumer to have a choice of who they purchase various options from. An airline makes more revenue per passenger when the passenger comes to them directly from Wego rather than an indirect booking channel. That is because of the less fees involved in the cost of distribution and the cost of sale,” explained Wicks.

Distribution is one of the biggest costs that a carrier faces because of aircraft costs, fuel and human resources. When a consumer books via a travel agent, the airline has to pay the agent commission plus the GDS segment fees. Studies have shown that the average network carrier pays approximately €14 per sector in the costs of distribution. Wicks shared, “By working with a metasearch player such as ourselves, the carrier gets to cut out a lot of these costs dramatically. In addition, the airline gets to own the customer directly. When purchasing a ticket via an OTA, the ancillaries the carrier wishes to sell may not be available for sale but we enable the carrier to sell.”

Marketing and distribution online via the world wide web requires specialist knowledge to keep costs down and increase global footprint. “We are able to showcase brands online and connect travellers looking for specific items with the right supplier for them. We have ample data on user intent,” he mentioned.

Talking about the current trends in airlines today, Wicks said that the prices remain high to travel from and around the Middle East. He said, “Most LCCs have luggage included in their airfares and those who don’t have only marginal differences between the cost of including your bags or flying without.” Low cost in the Middle East is not the same as low cost elsewhere. Air Arabia, the largest of all Middle Eastern lowcost carriers has a bigger seat pitch in Economy class than a lot of European full-service carriers. “We have LCCs in Saudi Arabia or the UAE offering business class cabins and frequent flyer programmes. It is in the Middle East that we see the growth of the hybrid carrier, one that comes with services, products and popular brands. People want things to be cheaper but there are just some things that are not supposed to be unbundled,” he concluded.

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