Mastercard

Masterpass And Expedia Take The Road Less (Digitally) Traveled

To paraphrase a famous poet, the best laid travel plans of mice and men often go awry.

With apologies to Robert Burns (we threw in another rhyming Robert for our headline), it is the planning and the scheduling and the booking and the paying that makes one want to take a vacation from the vacation. And with a group, the headache becomes exponential, because the logistics become complex.

There’s promise, then, perhaps, in the technology that promises to streamline the process.

To that end, Masterpass and Expedia said today that — through the ties that already bind the two firms — travel booking has become safer and easier through digital means. Using Masterpass, the companies said, would-be trekkers can complete everything from flight to hotel reservations across Expedia’s sites, with payments functionality already in place for JetBlue and other airlines and Carnival Cruise, among others.

In an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, Linda Kirkpatrick, EVP, Merchants & Acceptance at Mastercard, said that Tuesday’s announcement represents the next level in the relationship between the two companies.

Mastercard, its digital wallet and Expedia operate across “a data perspective, from a marketing perspective, and so now this rounds out our relationship from a digital perspective.”

Within the travel space, she said, consumers have been “looking for experiences”; and in this case, Masterpass now dovetails with Expedia’s brands, ranging from Expedia.com, the flagship site, Orbitz.com and Travelocity.com.

Those joint initiatives are launching today (May 16), said Kirkpatrick, with a key advantage in streamlining processes. She offered the example of a consumer going to a Caribbean destination who wants to order a tour or participate in water sports or other activities at a given resort — and can do so without having to enter credentials on the site. Kirkpatrick highlighted Masterpass’ existence as an issuer-driven wallet, noting the potential to use the relationship along with other technologies — namely through artificial intelligence partnerships such as that with Facebook.

“You can imagine, now that Masterpass is implemented on Expedia, the [types] of things we can do and the relationships we can have,” and with a digital, social twist, these can be of interest within travel industry interactions down the road (no pun intended, by the way), especially as mobile takes share in booking, transacting and socializing.

ID theft protection comes into play with Mastercard’s standard offerings — such as travel notifications, which ensure that purchases in far-flung locations are not flagged by the issuer as suspicious activity with ID Theft alerts.

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