SEATTLE, Wash. —Expedia Group has introduced the COVID-19 Travel Advisor, a tech-enabled tool that provides travellers with current details about travel restrictions worldwide. Powered by sherpa, the COVID-19 Travel Advisor is now part of several Expedia Group consumer brands to simplify the experience for people seeking guidance in destinations they hope or plan to visit, such as quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements. Expedia Group saw initial success in its pilot phase, with more than 1.6 million travellers using the COVID-19 Advisor across brands since the winter of 2020, and around 13 million pieces of communication sent to customers via email, push notifications and SMS, with the sherpa link included.
Communicating destination-specific information about restrictions and travel information is critical to re-building traveller confidence in the wake of COVID-19. Since July 2020, there have been almost 10 million clicks on travel advisories from across Expedia Group’s core brands and in the month of March 2021 alone, more than 1.7 million clicks, a 97-per-cent increase from the month prior, suggesting an increased desire to travel as the industry recovers. Travellers are also turning to OTAs for trip planning nearly 25-per-cent more than pre-pandemic, according to a recent Expedia Group study. The COVID-19 Travel Advisor is well-positioned to communicate information about restrictions and safety measures at scale, and will act as an important step forward in boosting traveller confidence in the coming months.
“Travellers are inundated with conflicting information about where and how they can safely travel as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues. This makes it challenging for our travel partners to know how and when to best position themselves online to capture fluctuating demand,” says Cyril Ranque, president, Travel Partners Group at Expedia Group. “We teamed up with sherpa to seamlessly integrate a solution into our apps, websites and customer communications. Our goal is to reduce friction for travellers, and also further support our travel partners across lodging, air, car and cruise by removing the time-heavy task of managing individual traveller queries about restrictions and travel requirements for each destination. It’s another step in the right direction of connecting the right supply with the right demand, at the right time.”
“Travel is critical to our world economy and an important part of human connection,” says Max Tremaine, co-founder and CEO, sherpa. “Since the pandemic started, our focus has remained firmly on helping our travel partners restore consumer confidence and trust in travel. This partnership with Expedia Group exemplifies our shared goals and speaks to Expedia Group’s commitment to power global travel for everyone, everywhere.”