I’ve got family on two continents, and the logistics of visiting them can be a challenge. Well when you book as much travel as I do, sometimes it’s nice to have the option to wait a day or two on a reservation before sealing the deal.
That’s precisely why I’m so excited about the newest feature from Expedia and a company called Options Away: A hold feature powered by TripLock and available on Expedia.com.
At last check, the new button—basically, a hold button—also is available on Orbitz.com, Travelocity, and CheapTickets.com.
This new button is the ultimate embodiment of flexibility. If you like a fare, you can hold it and think about it before locking it in. If you ultimately decide you don’t like the fare, you can just let the hold expire. TripLock allows travelers to hold a flight for anywhere from two days up to a week. All it costs is a small fee, which starts at US$5 and varies depending on the duration of the hold and the total estimated fare.
Specifically, the new feature offers four main benefits:
- More time to buy
- Price increase protection
- No change fees or hassles (within original hold)
- Sharing capability with fellow travelers or across devices
In my humble opinion, TripLock also offers an intangible: peace of mind. Booking travel can be expensive and overwhelming and scary! If the ability to hold a reservation gives travelers more confidence when they book, I’m definitely in favor of that.
It turns out I’m not the only one who digs this approach. Expedia and Options Away did some research around the new feature before launch, and determined that travelers are excited about the option to hold a flight. According to our data, 74 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to travel, given the option of putting a flight on hold.
About 40 percent of survey respondents said they would click the hold button when they weren’t sure of their travel plans.
This recent survey also covered purchase habits. The most interesting takeaway: While 75 percent of respondents reported being most likely to buy the hold on a desktop, about 40 percent of them said they were more comfortable booking the held flight on a mobile device.
I also think it’s interesting that one in 10 TripLock users said they convert holds while commuting.
There are lots of stats I could share here, but don’t take my word for it, check out a case study we recently put together on the subject. And once you’ve done that, consider Expedia’s commitment to learning from travelers—in 2015 alone, Expedia spent US$830 million to create websites that provide travelers choices and measure what they want.
With this kind of support, I bet TripLock is only the beginning. It’s exciting to think about what features our product and engineering teams will think up next.
What are your tips when booking a flight?
This post was written by Kristy Nicholas, director of communications and industry relations for Expedia, and a frequent flier who loves the flexibility of holding fares.