Expedia products promise reduced complexity for partners and consumers

Expedia products promise reduced complexity for partners and consumers

A new feedback tool developed by Expedia for hotels will be rolled out beyond the US after what the OTA described as a “phenomenal” early response.

Since launching Real Time Feedback two months ago the tool has already generated almost one million responses. It should launch in the UK within months as part of a global rollout.

Speaking to Travolution during a visit to the US, Arthur Chapin, vice president global lodging products, said the tool was an example of the work it is doing with hotel partners.

The feedback service was launched alongside Sell Tonight, a last minute deals solution enabling hoteliers to push out competitive same day rates and availability.

As well as providing tools for its supplier partners, Expedia is also innovating the consumer facing side of its business.

Scratchpad, launched last year, helps users to pick up a search started on one device when they resume on another, was an example of this.

Chapin said Expedia’s labs were constantly testing new ideas based on feedback from partners and users about how the site can improve its services.

“We are not afraid to fail – we test and learn,” said Chapin. “Now we know that something is working, we want to do it really well.

“If we can deliver a great customer experience, people are more likely to come back and choose Expedia again and we spend less money acquiring them.

“A loyal customer is always less expensive to attract. They way we do that is to develop great products. Making life easier for customers is a great way to drive repeat use.”

Chapin said Expedia carried out 2,000 tests across its online properties in 2014 and that this saw Expedia.com “get better every day”.

With five billion air searches and 1.2 billion hotel searches annually, Expedia believes it is in a strong position to help its partners understand and gain insight into the market.

This will power an increasing array of actionable tools for suppliers like hotels to use to create special offers and target the right customers at the right time.

All this will be based on real time data to help both customers keep informed about the fast-changing marketplace.

Hoteliers can see how they are performing versus their direct completion and what they need to do, like highlighting a specific attributes or content, to gain a competitive edge.

The real time review services encourages guests to give immediate feedback about aspects of their stay, like check-in or their room.

It is hoped this will enable hoteliers to intervene before the guest takes to third party review platforms and negative feedback becomes too hard to manage.

“We want to turn any potential negative into a positive before they leave the property, so that will lead to a positive review.

“This is unrivalled in terms of scale to help hotels proactively manage perception. A hotel that always fixes a customer’s issues is always going to be a special experience.”

Expedia also has a similar review service for flights and other sectors are likely to follow.

Chapin said Scratchpad was developed to allow customers the freedom to search without having to take physical notes or fear they will forget what they have already looked at.

It also features cross-device tracking, offering insight into how consumer behaviour is changing in a multi-device world.

“Inherently, Expedia was built on the principle of exposing this complex, data-heavy travel world to consumers and we are going to continue to do that.

“You will continue to see us giving better insights and more visibility in to travel.

“For hotels being able to understand where customers are coming from and make decisions based on that is a real opportunity to drive growth for our partners.”

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