Here at Expedia, we have the pleasure of helping millions of travelers find their dream trips every single month. Whether people are taking the family to Disneyland, going on a girls’ trip to Napa, or finally seeing the lights of Paris, many of them start researching their trip on the Expedia homepage. In fact, as far as online travel destinations go, it’s fair to say our homepage is one of the most frequently visited.
That’s why it’s so exciting to unveil our redesigned homepage! This is a big move for us—one that’s been 12 years in the making. The last major redesign happened in 2002, back when cell phones flipped open and we were all hanging out on MySpace.
As the world’s leading online travel booking site, a lot of your travel happiness at stake when it comes to our homepage. When you consider the scale at which we operate and how many of you stop here first on your way to a big trip, making significant changes to the page you see first can have real impact on all of the travelers who have been familiar with that page for more than a decade. But here’s the thing: Travelers today are incredibly different from 2002.
The rise of mobile travelers plays a significant role in our drive to rebuild our homepage. PhoCusWright’s U.S. Mobile Travel Report from February 2013 indicates that mobile travel planning is becoming more mainstream, with 77 percent of mobile users looking up general information. Making travel purchases on mobile devices is on the rise, with 30 percent of people surveyed having completed a mobile travel booking. Furthermore, last year’s report anticipated that the travel industry would see a US$25.8 billion mobile booking market in 2014: Eight percent of the total travel market and 18 percent of the online travel market.
With all of this in mind, we kept the mobile traveler front and center in our homepage facelift. We started from the ground up and considered various elements we think travelers will appreciate—not only today, but in the future as well. We built the site with responsive design as a priority; we know people are accessing our site across an array of devices and it needs to work on all of them, even as more devices come on the market in the coming years. We want to ensure the work we’re doing today on our homepage will resonate later, regardless of device type.
Page load time is another area we knew we had to rethink radically. People visiting our website don’t have the time to sit around and wait for webpages to load, especially when they are on a mobile device. Since mobile travelers are operating on their cell networks, the content needs to show up quickly without impeding cell data. After loads of testing, we’re pleased to share that we’ve cut the load time of our booking wizard nearly in half—from more than two seconds to just over one second. This allows customers to start searching, planning, and booking their travel quickly.
At Expedia, we’re maniacal about testing. Before releasing a new homepage to the public, we test it diligently behind the scenes. The responses have been quite positive. The first thing people comment on is the big, bold, and beautiful picture that appears behind the search fields to take the task of travel planning from mundane to magnificent. From there, the new search interface is put at the forefront of the customer’s experience—simple entry choices and clear search options as well as smart recommendations to get you on the path to paradise with fewer clicks.
Based on feedback throughout our testing, we think this makeover will bring you one of the best customer experiences available in online travel, inspiring you with beautiful imagery while getting you closer to the trips of your dreams on whatever devices you choose. This attention to detail provides a compelling opportunity for our media partners, as they will be able to leverage this innovation as well. By continuing to discover new ways of interacting with travelers, we are able to provide our partners with cutting-edge consumer engagement opportunities driven by compelling content.
The new homepage is currently available in the United States and we’re rolling it out around the globe later this year. For a sense of just how far things have come, check out our gallery of Expedia homepage screenshots from over the years. Then take a look at the new homepage and tell us what you think.