Travel technology scaleup Upgrade Pack is announcing a temporary delay in the launch of its flight and hotel upgrade app in response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The delay comes as the Company’s travel partners implement growing travel restrictions in efforts to contain the spread of the virus around the world, and face mounting pressure from mass cancellations and rebooking. The travel industry has seen dramatically reduced revenues already; and uncertainty over the spread of the virus, and its impact in 2020, is manifesting in significant changes to prioritisation of all existing and new initiatives. Given the importance of APAC as a region for Upgrade Pack, it has been decided that rescheduling the planned 2 March launch of its groundbreaking upgrade app is the best course of action.
“Whilst this temporary delay in taking our platform live is disappointing, especially given the excitement and anticipation around our launch, we feel it’s right to allow greater certainty to return for our partners and travellers around the world before launching Upgrade Pack”, said Group COO Urchana Moudgil. “Almost every one of our launch-ready airline and hotel partners has been forced to reprioritise projects and resource while plans are executed to minimise the impact of this global epidemic. We are suspending our launch date until the likely impact of the virus is better understood. We’ll launch as soon as possible, and with as many airline and hotel partners as possible. For most of them, the focus currently is financial damage limitation, passenger / guest protection, and new sales versus ancillary sales.”
Upgrade Pack’s announcement joins dozens of others this week with: major events the Company was attending being cancelled in Europe (GSMA’s Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona) and APAC (Aviation Festival Asia, in Singapore); ongoing discussions around the viability of other major events in the sector (ITB Berlin, for example); and travel brands such as Kuoni, British Airways, IATA, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and Hilton all announcing delays to forthcoming projects and initiatives.
“We remain in close dialogue with our launch partners and financial services clients about our new launch timeline. We will continue engaging with travel partners around the world to deliver millions of upgradeable airline seats and hotel rooms to users this year. And the silver lining to this delay means that – due to the extra time for partner integrations – when we do launch, we expect to have a larger number of launch airline and hotel partners within the app” added VP of Product Michaela Smith.