Recently I had an Google Hangout interaction with Mr Vikram Malhi, GM, South & Southeast Asia, Expedia and Jerald Singh, Head of Mobile Product, on the Expedia and new features that has been added upon it. Ar0und two years back, Expedia laid a road map ahead to become the “Web 3.0 personal travel assistant,” for the mobile world and looks like they are right on track. Frankly I never tried Expedia app earlier, my travel plans are still conservative without a mobile assistant but the brief interaction with the Expedia guys got me hooked to the app, after all its for no reasons that the app has been highly recommended and also stays on the top tier of best apps in all mobile platforms.
The Expedia app is a visual delight with two rows of vertically scrolling tiles, one row for hotels and other for flight. The way the mobile app has been aesthetically and functionally designed I am convinced with Vikram Malhi’s expectation of doubling the overall bookings received from mobile devices this year in India. He also added that nearly 15 per cent of its bookings currently come from the mobile platform in India while the global stats are at 20 percentage. Impressive figures.
The acquiring of Mobiata, a flight track app developer by Expedia in late 2010 has a tremendously helped Expedia in enhancing its app and the results are to be seen now in their list of enhancements oflate.
Both the Expedia.com website and mobile has seen many additions with recent additions being three new features: Flight Recommendations, Scratchpad and Itinerary Sharing. Currently, the first two new features is exclusive of the Expedia.com website and not included in the mobile app.
So how does these new features make Expedia, a perfect travel assistant? This is how it helps make travel a breezier affair. To begin with, the app defaults to your current location and beautifully lists the hotels in the vicinity along with the tariff and the distance from your location, upon clicking it gives a glimpse of the amnesties and pictures of the facilities. You can see reviews and sort by them, or you can filter by price and deals when it comes to finding your perfect hotel. Neat.
The Expedia Hotels & Flights app also has an itinerary feature that will allow you to see upcoming trips that you book in the app and on the web, just in case you keep forgetting your itinerary or to keep yourself excited with the upcoming schedules.
Now let’s check out the new features.
More than billion searches are done on Expedia website, making good use of the big data, Flight Recommendations analyses and applies insights to real-time customer search queries suggesting alternative airports, dates or time of travel that may be more convenient or cost-effective for travellers.
Scratch Pad, as the name implies stores and organizes search queries for easy retrieval. Analyzing the search queries, Expedia has found that its users make around 48 searches before arriving at the booking. Scratchpad ensures that whenever they return, they have access to previous searches. Scratch Pad can be accessed by clicking an icon on the homepage. Though the Scratch Pad cannot be accessed on the Expedia mobile app as on date, the good news is if you are signed in to the Expedia.com mobile app, Scratchpad will remember those searches and save them for viewing on desktop. Currently the scratch pad feature is available only for the international website.
Itinerary sharing is quiet a handy tool and my pick of the three new features. It is also the only new feature amongst the three to find way into the Expedia mobile app currently.This feature allows users to share their live itineraries with their co-workers, friends and family. So the person with whom you shared gets access to the same notifications as the traveller, making it easier to track flight departures, arrivals, and delays.
So great going by Expedia and looking forward to great new features on cards. With tablet becoming a mainstay smart device, Expedia is also working on an optimized app for tablets.
What I expect in future from Expedia
- Overhaul of Expedia India website with the new features
- Domestic flights on Mobile app.
- More payment options other than CC in mobile app
- Flight recommendations and Scratch Pad in Mobile app
- More localized menu.