Expedia has signalled it could work with travel agents in its affiliate programme on their pay-per-click advertising campaigns in future.
Tamer Tamar, managing director and vice president of Expedia Affiliates Network, said advising some of these agents on their PPC advertising campaigns to boost their sales was not out of the question.
He said: "Why not? We are open to that, but there has to be a certain amount of scale. We learn from them and they learn from us. They could learn about search engine optimisation from us. You do not want to put obstacles in the way of creative partnerships."
But he admitted the company had yet to actively discuss working with agents on online advertising. "We've had the idea for some time, but not the scale. I would rather do that after I understand the market fully in a few months' time," he said.
It now has 300 mostly small and medium-sized agents selling its hotels and dynamic pacakges, and is targeting 1,000 by the end of this year.
Tamar is confident Expedia could be working with most of the UK trade, including the multiples, through its affiliate programme in the longer term. "There is no reason why we cannot work with the majority of the trade. We have not seen any pattern of resistance," he said.
In the short term the online retailer will be focusing on ensuring the programme, which pays commission of between 8% and 12% depending on volumes sold, gives the right support to its agent affiliates.
"Now we have a decent number of sign-ups we have to get back to them more frequently and see what is working and what isn't - that's our focus for the next two months," he added.
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