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How airlines can increase hotel ancillary performance

May 28, 2019

Airline websites these days aren’t just about selling flights. In fact, modern airline websites provide a 360 travel experience with a goal of selling multiple travel products to not only drive revenue but also loyalty. Hotels are just one way to achieve this.

So, what makes a good loyalty campaign when selling hotels on your airline's website? “It’s about creating content and campaigns to drive traffic by serving the right content to match your traveler’s needs,” said Quentin Grieu, Senior Merchandiser, Expedia Partner Solutions.


Implementing effective hotels offers

Start with identifying which customer profile or segment the offer would resonate well with, and remember, the more targeted you are the more effective the campaign will be. Importantly, each campaign type must match the strategy for your particular airline.

When it comes to promotional offers to drive traffic, there are two primary ways to go, discounts and loyalty incentives, but they don’t need to be inclusive.

For example, offering a double points campaign will be instrumental in driving loyalty. However, deals and vouchers are most effective for re-engagement. Keeping loyalty at the heart of your campaign is essential to driving conversions. In this case, you could combine a discount offer with a loyalty incentive - ‘save 15% and receive bonus points’.


Airline merchandising channels

When merchandising, there are various channels that can be used to get the offer into the hands of your target market.

Email: Email is one of the strongest channels of driving revenue and is a great way to re-engage travelers and create awareness about your hotel program. It’s important when sending emails to establish your user segment first, then determine the key message and a clear CTA (call-to-action).

Research shows that marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue1. Therefore campaign-specific emails dedicated exclusively to one offer with a strong CTA drive the best traffic and increase performance. In fact, email campaigns remain effective weeks after the campaign launch date, as users will go back to their email to convert at a later date. When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more2.

Onsite Banners: On-site banners come in many shapes and sizes, but it’s not just about the visual representation of the banner, also the placement on your airline’s website. This is where dedicated real estate on the homepage and booking confirmation page become important, as well as dedicated landing pages.

Also, consider both static images and pop-ups. Pop-ups can become invaluable for encouraging your travelers to login and access member-only deals, additional discounts that you can offer to an exclusive group of travelers or promote a loyalty campaign (e.g double points/miles).

Cross-sell Widgets: The destination widget can be used to display hotels in a specific destination, often implemented on the confirmation page of Manage My Booking. This offers can be exclusive and therefore it’s important to incorporate the loyalty message as well. “Great news! You qualify for a special package rate for a hotel since you booked a flight with us.”

You can find more suggestions in our For Partners Merchandising guide.

Download guide


Also, why not check out this interview by Diggin Travel with our Senior Digital Optimization Consultant, Liu He, where he speaks about how airlines can grow their hotel and vacation packages ancillary revenue.

If you are interested in implementing any of the following suggestions or learning more about how we can work together to drive conversions and loyalty get in touch with our For Partners team today.


[1] Campaign Monitor

[2] DMA