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Expedia moves into ticketing, but as a resale platform

By | Published on Tuesday 27 February 2018


With Amazon officially bailing on tickets last week (for now at least), maybe it’s worth noting that earlier this month travel website Expedia added tickets into the mix on its US platform. Although it seemingly did so by allying with an American secondary ticketing site called TicketNetwork. So less an exciting new player looking to shake up the primary ticketing market, and more a new platform via which touts can tout their touted tickets. Albeit this time bundled in with a cheap hotel and car rental.

Confirming the addition of tickets to its site, Expedia Local Expert VP Jen O’Twomney said earlier this month: “We know travellers are looking for unique and authentic experiences while in-destination. They want to catch a baseball game at a stadium they’ve never been to, or see a show that isn’t playing in their hometown”.

She went on: “There’s also a growing trend to build entire trips around events, to attend a music festival, follow a specific artist on tour, or root for your team at an away game. Adding event tickets to our product offering makes all the sense in the world and gives us another way to help travellers get the most out of their vacation”.

Given the increasingly vocal campaign against online ticket touting, it’s interesting to see Expedia move into this space by becoming a marketplace for resellers rather than allying with primary ticket agents.

The site does state that “we are a resale marketplace, not the ticket seller” and that “prices are set by third-party sellers and may be above or below face value”. Although individual listings for tickets for British shows don’t contain all the information resale sites are obliged to provide under UK law. True, it’s selling them to American customers, though that’s still not necessarily a very good look.

Commenting on the innovation, Adam Webb from the UK campaign against touting, FanFair, told CMU: “What with the heightened political and regulatory scrutiny around secondary ticketing, it’s certainly bold timing on the part of Expedia to partner with a large US ticket resale platform. And to allow listing of tickets for UK events that appear to breach UK consumer law. They might want to rethink this. Until then, we would recommend incoming tourists avoid this service, and find their ticket information instead on either the artist or authorised event website”.

All that said, adding gig tickets to travel websites does offer the live sector an extra route to market, though that could just as easily be a route provided to primary rather than secondary sellers. Start-up Coras is dabbling in this space already and announced a partnership with Ryanair last year.