Expedia Revamps Travel Site

Expedia Inc., the online travel service spun off by Microsoft Corp., has redone its Web site, saying the changes will give customers more choices and more control over their travel plans.
The Bellevue-based company has developed Expert Searching and Pricing, or ESP, which is built on Windows NT, a Microsoft network-oriented operating system widely used by businesses.
The new platform, which is able to handle massive transaction volumes. is already running for flights and packages, and will soon be available for the entire site, Expedia says. Customers can choose from an average 400 itinerary combinations for every roundtrip domestic air ticket, it added.
Customers will be able to create a customized travel package on Expedia`s Web site by matching flights and accommodations, said marketing director Suzi LeVine. The site offers combinations of flights and allows customers to choose their own price, time and airline.
The company plans to add access to additional services, such as rental cars and tickets to attractions and events.
Expedia, which is still majority-owned by Microsoft, estimates it spent $30 million in development and testing of ESP over the past 4 1/2 years, LeVine said. Expedia hopes the changes will boost its standing among other online travel sites, particularly Fort Worth, Texas-based Travelocity Inc.