Expedia investing to build comprehensive comparison marketplace for flights through unique partnerships and unparalleled data application
BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Expedia, Inc., one of the world's leading travel companies 1, today introduced several new flight products and services designed to help improve the air travel experience for both customers and industry partners worldwide. The company is investing in tools to enable customers to compare and understand flight components in a transparent way, by making vast improvements to its global air products to address traveler fees and service expectations, and to help create a better overall shopping experience for travelers by making it easier to compare similar options across different carriers. These enhancements are part of a broader investment to build a comprehensive comparison marketplace for flights.
Poised to provide huge benefits to customers looking for better air options and suppliers who want to reach more travelers around the globe, Expedia® is rolling out the following new product features and enhancements to surface more valuable information and better connect people to the increasing number of choices available during all phases of the flight planning, searching and booking process:
- Upgrade Options: The company announced GDS partnerships last year to support airlines' branded fare families, and at the end of June officially upgraded the flight experience to begin offering customers the ability to search for and purchase a broader range of fare choices from select carriers. With this new technology, called Upgrade Options, travelers have more transparency into exactly what's included in certain flight prices at the time of purchase, thus enabling travelers to book flights with the specific attributes and on-board services that matter most to them. The company plans to continue expanding the number of fare options available to customers as new suppliers and partners are integrated into the Expedia+ global air technology platform that runs air ticketing and packaging for its brands around the world.
- Baggage Calculator: As a result of the company's recent partnership with ATPCO's Baggage Calculator, Expedia provides travel shoppers with more robust access to baggage fees and pricing information for the majority of airlines available to book through its sites. Customers will now have easier access to accurate baggage policies for specific flights, the number one ancillary service for airlines.
- Paid seating options: These offerings will be integrated into Expedia sites so that customers can easily identify, select and purchase these premium seating options via the online seat map. Expedia currently has agreements in place and expects to launch this product in late 2015. In addition, the company is working to relay a traveler's frequent flier number to the airline so if the traveler has status, the Expedia seat map will seamlessly display the appropriate status-eligible seats during the booking process.
“The global travel industry continues to expand and innovate, but there are very few companies investing in air shopping and booking,” said Greg Schulze, senior vice president, Global Tour & Transport at Expedia, Inc. “Expedia is committed to creating an amazing experience for the millions of people who shop for airline tickets on Expedia sites. We've been making significant progress towards improving air travel for our customers and suppliers through our recent integrations with Routehappy, innovative site features, and clearer fare choices from airlines' fare families – all of which help customers better navigate the increasing market complexity. Ultimately, our goal is to help travelers make more confident travel decisions. By leveraging Expedia's deep industry relationships and vast access to travel related data, we think we are in the best position to predict what shoppers care about most when it comes to flights. We will continue to invest heavily in new partnerships and iterative product development to solve the biggest air challenges and requests from air travelers around the world.
“As part of its commitment to air innovation, Expedia unveiled several flight product features that are currently being tested and integrated into its sites, and are expected to roll out widely for customers on Expedia.com by the end of 2015:
- Price Trends: Price Trends is a continuous shopping tool that will be integrated into the search experience that automatically aggregates pricing data for a specific destination based on Expedia users' recent searches, and analyzes high/mid/low points by range over the last 14 days to reveal deeper insights regarding how the current flight price compares to recent historical data. It is designed to offer shoppers an easy, straightforward assessment so they can instantly get a deeper understanding about how much current flight fares have increased or decreased over the past two weeks for a particular destination.
- Price Predictions: This feature takes Price Trends to the next level by integrating more data and smart predictive analytics to calculate the probability of certain price changes over the next week. Drawing from existing data and real-time insights regarding airline inventory and industry booking trends, Expedia's new Price Prediction feature will surface actionable recommendations for travelers by indicating the best time for them to book based on how prices for a given flight search are expected to increase or decrease over time. In the future, it will also provide customers with recommendations about current fares available along with predictions about how quickly certain flight fares and options will likely sell out.
- Structured Discovery: Customers visit their Scratchpad to view and repeat searches they've previously completed without having to reenter trip information. Structured Discovery is an extension to this content which presents results from alternate searches, such as different dates or nearby airports, reducing the need for customers to make these searches on their own.
About Expedia, Inc.
Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) is one of the world's leading travel companies, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes leading online travel brands, such as:
- Expedia.com®, a leading full service online travel agency with localized sites in 31 countries
- Hotels.com®, the hotel specialist with localized sites in more than 60 countries
- Hotwire®, a leading discount travel site that offers Hot Rate® Hotels, Hot Rate® Cars and Hot Rate® Airfares, as well as vacation packages
- Travelocity®, a pioneer in online travel and a leading online travel agency in the US andCanada
- Orbitz Worldwide, a global travel portfolio including Orbitz, ebookers, HotelClub, and CheapTickets, brands and business-to-business offerings, including Orbitz Partner Network and Orbitz for Business
- Egencia®, a leading corporate travel management company
- Venere.com™, an online hotel reservation specialist in Europe
- trivago®, a leading online hotel metasearch company with sites in 52 countries
- Wotif Group, a leading portfolio of travel brands operating in the Australia/New Zealand region, including Wotif.com®, lastminute.com.au®, lastminute.co.nz and travel.com.au®
- Expedia Local Expert®, a provider of online and in-market concierge services, activities, experiences and ground transportation in hundreds of destinations worldwide
- Classic Vacations®, a top luxury travel specialist
- Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®, a provider of exceptional value and expert advice for travelers booking cruises and vacations through its network of 190 retail franchise locations across North America
- CarRentals.com™, the premier car rental booking company on the web
The company delivers consumers value in leisure and business travel, drives incremental demand and direct bookings to travel suppliers, and provides advertisers the opportunity to reach a highly valuable audience of in-market consumers through Expedia® Media Solutions. Expedia also powers bookings for thousands of affiliates, including some of the world's leading airlines, top consumer brands and high traffic websites through Expedia Affiliate Network. For corporate and industry news and views, visit us at www.expediainc.com or follow us on Twitter @expediainc.
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