By Sarah Waffle Gavin, on August 15, 2014

Expedia summer travel tech preview

For years, the travel industry has largely thought about each trip as a single transaction and has poured energy into making each transaction better. This has played out in what we like to call the Single Device Pull Era. This paradigm has worked up until now with travelers shopping on just one device at a time – desktop for complex trip, mobile for last-minute trips – but it’s not be enough for travelers who dream, plan, research and buy travel across multiple devices. We’re no longer in a world of single device travel shopping.  We’ve entered a Cross-Device Push Era in travel where consumers move fluidly between desktop, mobile phone, tablet, and even wearable technologies and other smart devices as they plan, book, and take trips. With that in mind, we at Expedia are evolving how we think about our connected customers and how we can invest to serve them before, during, and after they travel. 

Tonight we met with a good group of technology and travel media in San Francisco to talk about how Expedia is evolving to help our connected travelers in this Cross-Device Push Era. As part of that, we provided an exclusive first look at the new wearable we’ve launched this week and the new tablet apps we’ll be launching this fall. We want to share a peek into our time with you.


First a few words on what we know about this new era. 


We know people dream, research, and book travel across an increasing number of devices and move between those devices throughout the travel process.  People are applying more effort and using multiple devices before they book. Practically nobody did this 5 years ago. Now more than half of all customers use multiple devices to plan and book travel.  


We also know that data in travel is exploding. In 2005, the size of the entire Google Index was 200 terabytes of data. Today, Expedia processes more than three times that amount—a whopping 633 terabytes per day (really).


Finally, the way customers are engaging with the internet is shifting from pull to push. Google query volume has grown to 3.5 billion searches per day. Push notifications represent approximately 5 times this volume, up from almost nothing 5-6 years ago.


Our response to these trends comprises four parts:


  • To focus on smart response design, surfacing the right experiences for each device.
  • To invest in Scratchpad to help customers log their searches across devices so they don’t have to remember all their searches, hotel details, or prices every time they search.
  • To introduce new smart devices, including the new Samsung Gear 2 smart watch experience, which we unveiled this week.
  • To roll out new tablet apps for iOS/iPad and Android tablets this fall. 


We previewed the new Expedia Tablet app tonight and want to show to you as well. 


The new app provides much more of a lean-back experience designed for browsing on the couch or at your favorite coffee shop. We incorporated beautiful, hand-curated destinations that we are calling “collections,” and people can begin exploring them with a single tap. Today, these collections are based on the Expedia team’s favorite destinations—our own personal bucket lists, recommendations from our friends and family, and the places to which we see our customers traveling. They are specific to various regions around the world and are a mix of well-known places and destinations that are off-the-beaten-path. Over time, we will allow travelers who use the app to create and share their own collections.


Our hope for the app is that it will be something in which travelers want to invest their time. We see travelers turning to it just as they are starting to think about a trip. It’ll be with them on their couch or in their beds. To facilitate this, we’ve made it very easy to get into the app and start experiencing it. We have removed all the upfront questions that travelers typically need to answer when they start thinking about their trips and instead have created a single search box. All a traveler needs to tell us is where he or she is thinking about going. From there, we provide the traveler with a whole set of federated search results, hotels, flights, and recommendations about the best times to go based on price. 


Our new tablet app is expected this fall and we’ll have more to share as we get closer to launch. We hope you’ll agree that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill travel app for tablet—instead it’s a reimagined experience that is a resource for both travel-browsing and connected trip-booking.  


Take a look below at the pictures from our event featuring Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and travel journalist, Chris McGinnis, from Be sure to check out the pictures of our new Expedia Tablet app, too. Let us know what you think. And please stay tuned.Dara for Twitter

demo for blog