Expedia.co.uk has unveiled an updated version of its TripCompanion Facebook app that will allow greater targeting by third suppliers of “in-trip” content.
The new app has introduced Google Maps integration, printable itineraries and what Expedia said was a more flexible back end system offering a more system for third parties.
This includes local suggestions and discounts, special offers, blogger and local expert recommendations and information on music and sporting venues.
Other upgrades from the Beta version include a ‘like’ sharing and feedback function, and an improved weather feed.
The app retains core features of the original including a trip countdown function, Tripadvisor recommendations and currency information.
Expedia says its upgrade was based on consumer feedback and TripCompanion now offers “increased customisation and targeting, combined with a greater focus on the ‘during trip’ functionalities”.
Gurmej Bahia, director of customer marketing at Expedia, said: “The response to Expedia TripCompanion has been very positive with over 150 users signing up each day, proving that travellers are looking for this type of continued targeted support beyond the booking phase.
Users of Expedia TripCompanion can customise the application according to their particular interests and preferences and print their final trip plan and map marking selected attractions.
Bahia added: “When developing Expedia TripCompanion our main focus was to combine the data we have with the strengths of Facebook to provide a valuable service to consumers.
“We have insights into when and where people are travelling and, in most cases, where they are staying. What social media – and Facebook in particular – offers is the opportunity to support these customers beyond the booking phase by providing relevant, highly targeted content which can be shared amongst their network to enrich their trip experience and facilitate group travel planning.”
The Facebook app also encourages ‘friends’ of the user to suggest their recommendations. Andrew Warner, senior director of marketing, EMEA, said: “We have been looking closely at the differing needs of our audience and how they wish to engage with us: while some travellers are interested in a more personal relationship with our brand and inspirational engaging content, others are more motivated by practical services and information which will make travel booking simpler.
“Our goal is to offer greater flexibility in catering for these differing needs and interests. Expedia TripCompanion is just one example of the type of useful services we are developing, with more to follow later in the year.”