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CheapTickets enhances search flexibility with split-ticketing optionsBy
CheapTickets is enticing travelers to book trips through its mobile application by enabling them to take advantage of split ticketing, a feature that lets users browse for two one-way flights during any round trip search, typically yielding better deals.
As online travel agencies continue battling for prime real estate on travelers’ smartphones, CheapTickets is attempting to stand out from the competition by giving its app users more flexibility in their search queries. Consumers searching for round-trip plane tickets are now able to browse one-way tickets to and from their desired destinations, enabling them to create flight package combinations better-suited to their budgets and time frames.
“The introduction of a split-ticketing capability should definitely prompt more travelers to use the CheapTickets app,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “Finding flight deals has become increasingly difficult with all of the travel engines competing for customer interactions.
“Not only will this option help consumers with better travel options that don’t take hours to navigate, but it will also be a benefit for small businesses taking on large travel costs for sales teams,” she said. “This addition will also aid boutique travel agencies in winning over new customers with the ability to give them a better deal, and be more efficient in the process, since most consumers shopping for the best airfare don’t always know the rules of engagement.”
Checking in split ticketing
CheapTickets, which allows customers to book flights, car rentals, hotel rooms and activities through its digital platforms, recently added split-ticketing capability into its eponymous mobile app.
This feature enables travelers to shop for two one-way flights each time they want to purchase a round-trip fare.
For example, if an individual is looking to book a round trip from Chicago to New York, he or she can have the app search for round trip options from Chicago to New York and back to Chicago, as well as one-way tickets from New York to Chicago and vice versa.
This lets users see a variety of pricing and departure options, consequently allowing them to build their ideal flight package instead of being restricted to the round-trip options initially shown.
OTAs seeking to bolster their app downloads and entice consumers to keep transacting with them should also consider implementing split-ticketing features into their mobile offerings.
Travel deal seekers will likely head to a competitor’s app if they know they can leverage more search filters there instead.
CheapTickets’ split-ticketing feature rollout arrives after a quiet few months from the discount travel brand.
Last year, CheapTickets leveraged the selfie obsession with the tradition of travel photos in a “Trelfies” contest that let travelers submit memorable photos for a chance to win a vacation (see story).
However, the marketer is looking to gain more buzz in the mobile space by introducing a welcome incentive for new app users.
First-time CheapTickets app users can save an extra $25 on their hotel bookings by inputting the promotional code DOWNLOAD25 during checkout. To be eligible for the deal, customers must book their accommodation by September 30 and travel by December 31 for a minimum of two nights.
New mobile booking trends
CheapTickets is not the only travel marketer rolling out innovative features designed to incite more mobile bookings.
The buzz surrounding chatbots has permeated the travel and hospitality space as well, as evidenced by international airline Icelandair launching the first phase of its mobile messaging bot on Facebook Messenger last week.
The bot drives users to book stopover flights in Iceland while visiting other overseas countries (see story).
Meanwhile, Google continues to grab a stronger stake in the travel market with its newest innovations.
Google’s recent travel updates include consumer-friendly booking tools such as hotel smart filters and enhanced flight price tracking, but threaten to overshadow airlines’ and travel providers’ own mobile platforms unless they leverage more predictive analytics and real-time inventory changes (see story).
Nevertheless, CheapTicket’s integration of split-ticketing search capability could garner some positive brand awareness.
“The concept of split ticketing has been around for a long time,” said Ryan Williams, head of client insights, travel and retail at comScore. “In fact, Kayak has leveraged split ticketing since 2011.
“But, it’s likely not a simple solution to build and support or I suspect more third-party travel companies would have done so by now,” he said. “I can’t speak to the success rate in finding better pricing by booking one-way trips on different airlines vs. a standard round trip, but if CheapTickets users are finding better deals through the app, and aren’t concerned with airline loyalty programs, this could result in some solid word-of-mouth marketing and app loyalty.”
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