Walmart is a giant retailer but it's possible Hopper was a more meaningful client for Expedia. At any rate, Walmart is potentially a significant win, and at least it isn't a competitor.
When it comes to online travel agencies’ business to business deals, you may need a scorecard to keep up. In the latest deal, Expedia Group became the power behind Walmart’s travel offering.
The companies announced Tuesday afternoon that Expedia Group would be providing properties (900,000), airlines (500+), car rental companies (100+), and activities (“thousands”) to Walmart + Travel.
When Walmart members book travel on that Expedia-powered travel site, they are eligible to receive 5% Walmart cash back on hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals and activities, 2% on flights, and “a blended rate” of Walmart cash on vacation packages, the companies stated. That means for a flight-hotel package, the travelers would receive 5% Walmart cash back on the hotel and 2% on the flight.
The Walmart win for Expedia Group’s business to business arm, which generated 25% of the company’s total revenue in the first quarter, follows Expedia bowing out of a broadly similar partnership with Hopper two weeks ago.
In another development, Hopper won a partnership with Uber in May to provide it with flight inventory and its fintech products, including various price freeze features.
That had to be a disappointment for Expedia since Uber’s current CEO is on the Expedia board and was a longtime Expedia Group CEO.
However, Expedia has said in the past that it walked away from a potential Uber deal because the economics didn’t make sense.
Walmart, a major retailer that did $611 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2023, has gone through numerous iterations of its travel offerings over the past couple of decades. Going all the way back to 2004, for example, Walmart Vacations offered cruises from National Leisure Group. Walmart’s sister brand, Sam’s Club, has a travel offering that has been powered by several providers over the years.
Expedia handles much of the customer service for Walmart + Travel, whether through its live agents or its AI-backed virtual agent.
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Photo credit: Families traveling. Source: Getty Images Ariel Skelley / Getty Images