When we announced the Expedia app would be available on Apple Watch last month, we were eager to share some of the useful features our app currently offers. If you have an Apple Watch, you can check out our app yourself by downloading it here. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a fast cycle of technology innovation happening on the wrist, from fitness trackers to health monitors. Travel is a natural application for this form factor.

We’ve all seen the person running through the airport to catch a flight because his or her gate changed. (Okay, it was I.) Or maybe you’re about to hop into a cab to go to your hotel and you need the address quickly. These are examples of times when you need information quickly and don’t want to have to dig for your phone. Providing quick, easy access to this type of actionable information is at the root of what the Expedia app for Apple Watch solves.

If you have the Expedia app for Apple Watch (or if you check out the screenshots we’ve provided), you’ll notice that the content we surface is quite different from what you’ll find in your itinerary if you look at it online. That’s because on a device as small as Apple Watch, there are constraints in the type and style of information displayed. You won’t want to read an entire email on a watch screen. The same applies to travel content.

We’ve been thinking about this for quite some time. Arguably, this research started when we began sending travelers email updates about their trips. The research kicked into high gear when we selected what types of notifications to deliver on smartphones, and later in our other wearable app experiences, such as Samsung Galaxy Gear. During our ongoing research with travelers, we have identified a data hierarchy about the information that is most important to receive while traveling.

When identifying what type of content to send to a wearable device, we prioritize that list and send you quick updates. There’s one prevailing theme among the types of content you receive: They all are actionable! They present you with a snippet of content relevant to your trip—a snippet that potentially could change your behavior.  Here are some examples:

  • Your flight to San Francisco departs in 2 hours. (Internal dialogue: “Tarran, get into that cab and head to the airport!”)
  • Check out at your hotel is at noon today. (Internal dialogue: “Geez Tarran, stop watching the free hotel movies and pack your bag!”)
  • Your bags will be at baggage claim 4. (Internal dialogue: “Baggage claim 4, Tarran, must find baggage claim 4.”)

Eventually, we’ll look to expand upon the type of content we push out to travelers via notifications. For now, we’re continuing to learn what customers find most valuable, then we are iterating on those findings.

Having critical information available on your wrist is the sort of power once reserved for your imagination. Now it’s here, so there’s even more reason to get out and explore your favorite places or perhaps somewhere you’ve never been before. We want to bring more value to travelers and make it even easier for people to take their next trips. We think you’ll agree our apps for Apple Watch demonstrate our commitment to doing just that. 

Exploring the potential of wearables has the same appeal of exploring a new destination. The future looks bright for what Expedia, Inc., can deliver to customers on this frontier.