Expedia Group launches Covid-19 Advisor tool

US: Expedia Group has introduced the Covid-19 Travel Advisor, a tech-enabled tool that is designed to provide travellers with up-to-date details about travel restrictions worldwide.

Powered by sherpa, a global provider of travel identification requirements for the travel industry, the Covid-19 Travel Advisor is now part of several Expedia Group consumer brands, with the aim to simplify people’s experience when seeking guidance in destinations they hope or plan to visit, such as quarantine and Covid-19 testing requirements.

Expedia reported seeing initial success in its pilot phase, with more than 1.6 million travellers using the Covid-19 Advisor across the brands since last winter, and around 13 million pieces of communication sent to customers via email, push notifications and SMS, with the sherpa link included.

The company said that “communicating destination-specific information about restrictions and travel information is critical to rebuilding traveller confidence in the wake of Covid-19”.

Since July 2020, there have been almost ten 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 previous month, 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 designed to communicate information about restrictions and safety measures at scale.

Cyril Ranque, president, Travel Partners Group at Expedia Group, said: “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.

“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 traveler 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,” he added.

To align with traveller needs and preferences, each Expedia Group consumer brand incorporated the Covid-19 Travel Advisor at the following locations:

Max Tremaine, co-founder and CEO of sherpa, said: “Travel is critical to our world economy and an important part of human connection.

“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,” he added.