Travelport says it will soon add vacation rental properties to its distribution network, in a bid to widen the accommodation options to agencies.
Speaking following its Q1 2015 results, president and CEO Gordon Wilson also indicated that the company could be willing to work with the likes of Airbnb, making it one of the first so-called traditional players in distribution to officially recognise the changes in the hospitality sector.
The global database of hotels and other properties on Travelport platform now stands at 650,000, with a forecast for 700,000 expected in due course, Wilson says.
This figure could soar even further when vacation rental properties are included in Rooms&More, the agency accommodation and travel services platform.
Wilson says this move has not specifically come about at the request of agencies, but a wider recognition that travellers (predominantly of the leisure variety) are increasingly looking at other types of accommodation when booking a trip.
Travelport would not source the vacation rental inventory itself, Wilson adds, preferring to take the respective content from the platforms plugged into Rooms&More, such as Expedia.
Whilst there is no official move to work with sharing economy-type brands such as Airbnb, Wilson says: "If we can add value to Airbnb's distribution, then we would."
Until recently, established travel technology players have generally shied away from acknowledging how hospitality brands that use the sharing model could feature in wider distribution networks (Concur was one of the first to formalise a relationship, in July 2014).
Wilson's comments came as the Beyond Air (accommodation, ground services, etc) segment of the Travelport business recorded a 14% increase in revenue to $110 million between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015.
This climb helped offset a 3% decrease in air revenues to $432 million over the same period.
The Beyond Air revenues now account for 20% of the overall distribution pie, up from 18% in Q1 2014.
Wilson estimates this will hit 33% of total revenues by 2018.
Overall net revenue in the first quarter of 2015, including those from its technology services, was unchanged on the same period in 2014 at $572 million.
Wilson says the flat growth is due to recent changes to its contracts with Orbitz and Delta.
Air revenue was down due to lower volumes in the US and Europe, but steadied by growth in some emerging markets in Asia-Pacific, he adds.
Adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2015 was $137 million, down 9% year-on-year.