The white-labelling programmes of some of the biggest travel companies on the web were widely predicted earlier this year to be ramped up as a means of widening their distribution.
Lastminute.com is forging ahead with its own strategy with plans to launch its Partnership Programme to the wider community in the next few months. The OTA will offer the portfolio of 80,000 hotels in parent company Sabre’s inventory to third parties as part of the programme.
The system is a based on a similar one used by Travelocity in the US.
The range of hotels is made up of 40,000 from Sabre’s GDS inventory and 40,000 from Travelocity, Lastminute.com and Medhotels.com.
The first company to sign a deal with Lastminute.com is the travel social networking site WAYN.com, boosting its non-membership functionality on the home page, which includes flight search courtesy of a white-label tool from the Kayak meta search engine. Existing arrangements with Thomas Cook and Virgin Experiences will continue.
Lastminute.com vice-president for distribution and business development, Vic Darvey, who landed the role as part of a major restructuring during the summer, says the OTA is in negotiations with a number of “well-known, leading travel companies”.
“Lastminute.com is keen to engage with more small businesses looking to retail travel online. The technology is so easy to use, we are confident a new travel site can be set up within four hours.”
“It’s a great opportunity for traditional high-street travel agents to give themselves a comprehensive online presence.”
Lastminute.com has a number of existing white-label deals – which include flights – through its Online Travel Corporation division with Tesco.com, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Saga and BAA.
These will continue as separate deals and only include the Lastminute.com and Medhotels hotel stock.