US: Retail corporation Walmart, which operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores across the United States, has tapped Expedia Group to power its new travel website, WalmartPlusTravel.com.
As a result, members of Walmart+, Walmart’s subscription program, will be able to book getaways and have access to a range of travel benefits, including receiving five per cent Walmart Cash [previously Walmart Rewards] on vacation rentals, hotels, car rentals and activities bookings, two per cent Walmart Cash on all flights, and a “blended rate” of Walmart Cash on vacation packages.
Travel bookings through WalmartPlusTravel.com, which is being powered by Expedia Group’s White Label Template technology, will provide Walmart+ members with access to more than 900,000 properties, 500+ airlines, 100+ car rental companies, and “thousands” of activities around the world.
Walmart+ members will be able to access travel through their member benefits hub in the subscription program app or at WalmartPlusTravel.com. After a booking is confirmed, any Walmart Cash that is received will appear in the member’s Walmart wallet and become available 30 days after travel is completed, while it can also be used for future in-store purchases.
Venessa Yates, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart+, said: “We’re bringing together the ultimate savings membership and vacation booking site to deliver a first-ever travel-focused benefit for Walmart+ members. Combined with our other benefits — including free delivery, streaming and savings on fuel — we’re creating a membership that saves customers time and money, whether they’re at home or having fun at their favourite vacation destination.”
Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia for Business, said: “We’re delighted to launch this collaboration with Walmart, America’s largest retailer, making planning, shopping and booking travel a new and seamless part of Walmart’s shopping experience. Together, we’re connecting Walmart’s massive customer base with Expedia Group’s extensive array of travel supply partners from all around the world.
“What’s exciting is that with this collaboration, Walmart customers will benefit from Expedia’s ongoing innovation through TravelOS, our AI-powered travel operating system, as we continue to add new product and feature updates to drive the best traveller experience,” she added.
Expedia Group’s live agents and AI-powered Virtual Agent tool will support customer service enquiries, as well as allow Walmart+ members to ask questions about their trips.
Two weeks ago, Expedia Group terminated a vacation rental supply partnership with Canadian rival Hopper. Then last week, it launched a new loyalty program of its own – One Key – which enables travellers to earn and use rewards on eligible flights, hotels, vacation homes, car rentals, cruises and activities, across its three travel brands [Vrbo, Expedia and Hotels.com].
Across the OTA market, Expedia Group, Booking.com and Hopper have all previously entered into partnerships with companies from outside of the travel space, whose members have subsequently been able to access various travel benefits and products.
In addition to Walmart, Expedia Group has struck partnerships with the likes of Mastercard, American Express, JP Morgan Chase, TD Bank and the American Association of Retired Persons [AARP]. Similarly, Booking.com has commercial agreements with Apple, T-Mobile and Citi, while Hopper has collaborated with Capital One and Uber to provide access to flight inventory and its suite of fintech products.
Senior representatives from Expedia Group and Hopper will be speaking at the inaugural STRz Summit in London on Wednesday 18 October, when one of the sessions will be delving into ‘Driving attention, loyalty and retention’. See the full event agenda here and book your tickets now at this link.