New Expedia tablet app offers more natural trip search interface

New Expedia tablet app offers more natural trip search interface

Expedia claims its new app designed specifically for tablets has solved a long-standing gripe travellers have when shopping for flights and hotels on the same screen.

The new destination-based search tool allows a simpler process for putting the main components of a trip together.

Expedia says this is a fresh approach is ‘in stark contrast’ to industry standard interfaces which it describes as ‘unnatural’.

The global travel giant pointed to PhoCusWright data which shows 40% of people use tablets when they are browsing for a travel destination.

Expedia said it conducted internal user testing and ethnographic studies on tablets concluding travellers using tablet devices were frustrated with website designs that forced users to pick a flight or hotel separately.

Notable findings included:

Early in the shopping process, travellers want easier ways to see prices across destinations. Separately shopping for flights and hotels is the most time consuming aspect of the process.
At the same time, travellers do not want to lose access to traditional filters and sorting options when they want to explore more specific type of hotels/flights.
Travellers often use their tablet device to research travel destinations as an entertainment activity when sitting at home on the couch. The tablet data was further confirmed through Forrester data2 which shows that tablet owners tend to use their devices while lounging at home, multitasking while watching TV, or researching.

Dara Khosrowshahi, president of Expedia Worldwide and chief executive of Expedia, said: “The problem is pretty basic: tablet apps to date haven’t actually been designed for browsing on a tablet.

“Travellers expect an easy, convenient way to explore potential travel destinations and browse flight and hotel details and they expect to be able to do it in a way that feels right for them when they’re on their tablet

“They deserve this experience without sacrificing the in-depth industry knowledge and personalised insights our powerful Expedia search engines provide.”

The new Expedia tablet app is specifically optimised for mobile exploration and browsing and introduces a handful of unique features:

Single search box: To eliminate hefty search interfaces. When a traveller enters a city name, landmark, or airport code, the app will surface hotels and flights relevant to that query – no dates or specific details are required at the start.
First-ever combined hotel and flight travel search: Rather than searching for trips in a rigid, linear progression of flights then hotels, or hotels then flights, Expedia is introducing one combined search that provides both hotel and flight results simultaneously, available all in one glance.
Collections: Expedia presents various themed travel destinations to spark interest in future journeys. Collections offer customers the opportunity to explore destinations they may not have otherwise considered. Content is catered to various regions and will be updated based on traveller feedback.
Integrated trip planning, booking, and data, shared across devices: Earlier this year, Expedia introduced Scratchpad in certain markets around the globe. Scratchpad is an easy way to keep track of your travel searches. When a traveller is signed into an Expedia app, trips researched on a tablet device will appear on the desktop or mobile Scratchpad. This allows travellers to begin their travel planning from where they left off on any device.

John Kim, chief product officer at Expedia Worldwide, said: “If you forgot about the way we trained customers to shop for travel online over the last 15 years and you wanted to create an experience from the ground up with the traveller at the very center, you would build this tablet app.

“Our new tablet app embraces Expedia’s core strengths by bringing together our marquis hotel and flight capabilities to create one beautiful and easy-to-use combined search experience. We encourage people to give it a try and share their feedback.”

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