Global Hotel Card, Inc., announced that it will become affiliated with the Expedia Affiliate Network this summer. The announcement comes as a result of consolidation of online travel suppliers as Expedia has acquired Travelocity and Orbitz, both of which were previous suppliers and co-branding partners of Global Hotel Card. The new partnership will allow the company to offer special deals based on seasonality, holidays, destinations, and other merchandising to cardholders, in real time. The partnership significantly increases the company's inventory of hotels worldwide to more than 150,000 properties.
"We are extremely pleased to continue our relationship with Expedia as they have tremendous Brand recognition worldwide, have invested heavily in their technology platform, and offer the best inventory of hotels and offers to the consumers in real time to GlobalHotelCard.com," said Peter Friend, founder of Global Hotel Card, Inc. "While some other national retail brands often see a conflict between gift cards and their own marketing departments, Global Hotel Card has no conflict with our booking engine partner and we fully embrace making every special hotel deal in the Expedia Network available to our cardholders through GlobalHotelCard.com with no additional fees or restrictions and flexible booking terms."
Friend emphasized that a particular advantage of the dynamic pricing model of online travel allows cardholders to shop and explore hotel deals and take advantage of great offers and pricing through Expedia's Network. Global Hotel Card's may be used and all major hotel brands and price points so we are not limited to any specific gender, income, or age group, which Friend expects will be a great benefit to incentive programs with a wide range of members.
"Travel is always seen as one of the top aspirational categories for motivation and incentives programs and further has the special benefit of creating positive memories and a more lasting association and engagement between the company and employee," said Friend. "Travel is a one-size-suits-all reward because it crosses all demographics and appeals to all ages."
Since launching the first gift card-powered online travel agency in 2005, the company has enjoyed significant growth and is looking to expand the currencies and languages it supports in the coming years. In the U.S., the company aims to invest more in technology to create SKU-based gift cards that will allow for special deals and additional discounts to recipients.
In its growth, the company has followed the broader trend of growth in individual incentive travel and travel gift cards. According to last year's Incentive "Travel IQ," 44.7 percent of respondents used both group and individual travel programs -- almost double the 22.9 percent that use only group travel.
"Individual Incentive Travel Cards have many inherent advantages that align well with incentive programs," added Friend. "The hotel redemption choices are huge with no booking restrictions and virtually limitless inventory throughout the world and both the award fulfillment and hotel booking are immediate, digital, and online."