In this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with Christopher (Chris) Cuddy, the new Chief Commercial Officer at Fareportal, a travel technology company that got its start more than a decade ago developing e-commerce sites, booking engines and management tools for the retail and wholesale travel industry. Today, Fareportal operates many successful businesses and brands, including CheapOair.com, the third most popular online travel agency. The company remains committed to developing in-house technologies that provide the organization with a unique advantage in the industry. Fareportal pairs their technology with travel agency offices, call centers, websites and award-winning mobile applications that enable millions of travelers to book trips to and from every corner of the world.
“Geneo is an incredibly simple app that makes travel bookings easier, faster, and always accessible… Its intelligent flight search technology finds better-fitting flights with every new search, and travelers can book quickly via live chat, phone or website.”
– Chris Cuddy, CCO, Fareportal
Congratulations on your new assignment as Fareportal’s Chief Commercial Officer. Can you talk a little bit about Fareportal’s business, its place in the industry and some of the new product development and engineering projects you are heading up this year?
Thank you! I am very excited to be a part of the Fareportal team, which is one of the fastest growing travel companies in the world. Each year, millions of travelers trust their travel plans to Fareportal and our travel partners. Since launching in 2002, we have offered one-stop shopping for all of a traveler’s needs. Travelers can book trips through Fareportal’s websites (www.cheapoair.com, www.cheapoair.ca , www.cheapoair.co.uk , www.onetravel.com ), mobile and tablet apps, and 24/7 phone support center.
2013 is jam packed with exciting technical innovations. We recently released our latest CheapOair app for iPad, Android, and Windows devices. Over 1.2M travelers have downloaded this powerful app that allows you to book flights, hotels, cars all in one place. You can even select seats, check baggage fees, use the currency converter, and create a packing list.
We are also in process of launching a new technology platform that supports responsive design and multi-lingual websites, initially in Spanish and French. These innovations will ensure that travelers will have a fast, easy to read booking experience no matter what device they use.
In March, Fareportal announced Geneo, a “one-of-a-kind” flight search app. What’s so different about this app and why do consumers need another travel app?
Geneo is an incredibly simple app that makes travel bookings easier, faster, and always accessible. This app asks a few questions about travel plans and then matches options for the traveler, easily displaying the perfect match with simple icons. Its intelligent flight search technology finds better-fitting flights with every new search, and travelers can book quickly via live chat, phone, or website.
If you know someone who likes to keep it simple, this is the travel app for them.
How are Fareportal’s two travel search engine brands, CheapOair and OneTravel, performing? What are the primary differences between the two – what does one offer that the other doesn’t and are you targeting different traveler demographics?
Both CheapOair and OneTravel are performing well, with double digit year over year sales growth. Both brands focus on the leisure traveler and offer millions of airfare selections from over 450 airlines, with easy booking 24/7 telephone travel specialists and a suite of mobile apps.
CheapOair (“Travel the World for Less”) tends to appeal to travelers seeking the absolute best deals on airfares. OneTravel, (“Fly, Stay & Experience-Together”) appeals more to families seeking both airfare and hotels for a full travel solution that is convenient.
How does clubmiles Travel Rewards incentive reward program work? What is the future of the program?
clubmiles™ members earn points automatically when they purchase airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, attractions and more. Members can redeem points for free travel and merchandise at their favorite retailers including electronics, apparel, home furnishing, and dining. Travel purchases made through partner sites when signed in from www.clubmiles.com earn double points. clubmiles™ members also receive special offers from time to time that are exclusively available only to our valued clubmiles™ members. Today, our www.CheapOstay.com site partners with clubmiles™. We will soon launch on CheapOair and OneTravel later in 2013.
Let’s move to the trade side of Fareportal’s business. What are your key brands and offerings to the travel trade? How are travel companies implementing your technology solutions?
In the US, our two primary brands are CheapOair and OneTravel.
We are working with several of our partner airlines to implement our in-house developed technology solutions to offer our Partners’ products and services to our customers. The most recent example of this is the launch of USAirway’s Choice Seats product on our websites. Choice Seats allows travelers to select attractive seats, usually windows or aisles near the front of Coach, at the time of booking. We are the first online B2C site to offer customers the opportunity to purchase this very valuable product. We will continue to provide customized technology solutions to support our partners’ products and offer the most comprehensive suite of products to our customers.