What is an integration team?
First, let’s say a few words about Alexey’s team and its typical working day. Alexey manages a small team engaged in daily monitoring performance of «gates» — so we call a partner involved in Aviasales/Aviasales. Besides, our guys are developing the «Backoffice» project — a personal account for partners where they can check their statistics.
«Our ordinary day starts with the verification of yesterday’s indicators, including the commission received from our partners, number of clicks and searches, as well as conversion. If I see that one of our partners had a fuck-up (a low redemption of bookings, a large number of errors or negative feedbacks), I can even temporarily exclude it from our search results. After that, our integration team has a „stand up“ (as in Travelpayouts), i.e. a short daily meeting aimed at discussing the previous day and our today’s tasks».
In Alex’s opinion, the most challenging task is the process of integration with GDS Amadeus: «We have been the first Russian metasearch engine that managed to implement a global distribution system. But now we can add new airlines to our search results in several clicks!»
Now it is high time to find out whether we should believe all the myths in the world of airline tickets. Alexey is to speak.
Aviasales/Aviasales web version and mobile application display various agencies
That’s right. We’ve got a lot of flexible filters, including the one aimed at hiding some gates in the mobile search results: we take care of our users. Therefore, we believe that it is better NOT to show websites that are not available for a specific mobile device. In addition, the gate can have a bad conversion in web version, but an excellent one in mobile devices, so it will be available for mobile devices only.
Low prices can be found only in private browser mode
As a rule, private browser mode provides more gates, because such search results include those who do not supply us with the required sales statistics and are disabled for our partners’ traffic. There are no such gates in Russia, but they can be found in other regions. It is worth noting that we do not supply the gate with any information allowing user identification — neither IP address, nor the version of the user’s browser — nothing at all.
I update search results several times and every time I get different prices
Every day one or two gates somehow fall under «pessimization» — so we call a downgrading of gate display frequency in our search results. This can be due to either the partner’s low performance or the partner’s inability to hold our load. Besides, the gate may also have no time to respond to our search request, so its results are not represented in search results.
The search engine displays irrelevant prices
This can occur due to the problems on the gate’s side, when they provide us with the price from the cache, rather than a relevant one. However, we are always keeping track of information — we’ve developed a special algorithm that calculates the real-time gate performance within the last hour and three hours. If something goes wrong, we’ll notice it.
Prices differ in various search engines
Yes, that’s true. This is due to a different set of agencies and airlines, as well as different working conditions with them.
It is not safe to book tickets in some agencies from search results
It’s safe. We have personal contacts with each agency, so in case of disagreeable situations we will always take our clients’ side and seek truth. Besides, when connecting the agency, we charge several thousand dollars. You see, street fraudsters won’t pay it for sure. In addition, each agency is checked by our security service.
Aviasales/Aviasales does not watch over the quality of ticket-selling agencies
We do watch! We are constantly checking conversion, the ratio of sales to nonunique clicks — STR (sales through rate). As a rule, we can easily find out whether the gate is reliable or not by knowing some mechanisms and average indicators for various directions and platforms. There are gates that sell low-priced tickets (MOW-LED), so they should have an excellent conversion. However, there are also gates engaged in selling MOW-BKK, so here we can provide a discount, as people buy such directions rarely. When we learn that there is something wrong with the gate, we begin to address the problem and check various sources. If the problem really exists, we disable such gate. Recently we’ve got such a situation connected with the bankruptcy of Transaero — we’ve been the first to exclude it from our search results, when other booking offices continued selling its tickets.
The agencies do not react to the complaints filed by Aviasales/Aviasales users
I truly believe that most of our partners need traffic with metasearch. Many users would have never recognized this or that OTA brand, if it has not been represented in Aviasales. As far as I know, the part of the metasearch traffic in some OTA amounts to 70%. There were cases when OTA considered our suggestions and we did manage to improve the market. For example, when we suggested that all of them should get rid of default insurances, SMS notifications and other services. The sanction system is quite simple: if you can’t maintain the level, clear out!
Foreign agencies work better than the Russian ones
Foreign OTA can still employ some tricks used by our OTA several years ago: for example, to provide a low price of a ticket that is available only in case of payment using Maestro or American Express cards.
I have been cheated: booking using my personal link has not been taken into account
Though it happens rarely, such problem still exists. This is due to the following reasons:
- Some gates share statistics through tracking pixel (a code that informs that the user has followed the definite link and made conversion at this websites). If you have booked tickets using the private browser mode, it won’t be taken into account.
- There are also gates that send statistics within one or two days. Moreover, some gates send data within a week or so.
- I do not recommend checking prices of the same gate before booking by using different metasearch engines. We do not know for sure how our competitors conduct sales tracking, so it may happen that booking will be attributed not to Aviasales/Aviasales, but to another metasearch engine.
- Many low-cost airlines do not pay commissions to us, but we still show them for all our users for the sake of search results completeness.
- Some gates have not developed a statistics aggregator yet or perhaps it’s gone kaput:) Nevertheless, sales won’t be lost, but will be shown a bit later.
Still got questions? Write them in commentaries.