From today, customers of Expedia.co.uk will be given more choice and Control when booking their travel following the introduction of a revolutionary new technology platform, Expert Searching and Pricing (ESP).
The architecture, built on Windows NT, is more reliable than other mainframe-based GDS technology, fully scalable, capable of handling enormous transaction volumes, whilst minimising the loads on the GDS and is both faster and more powerful than other older systems.
At present, ESP has been applied to flight and hotel searches only, but is ready to be rolled out in other areas, such as package holidays, as and when the market becomes ready for it.
Flights ESP allows the flight searching system to become more intuitive to the customers` needs and allows the individual to select results based upon their own most important criteria. A wider selection of airfares will appear on the first page of available flights found for the user. For the first time, customers will see integration between published fares, Expedia Special Fares and new Flexfares. They can then sort by lowest price, shortest flight, departure or arrival time, making it ideal for the bargain hunter and business traveller alike. Tabs with one click access to the top carriers` flight details will also appear should the customer have a preferred airline. Flexfares bring the best of “late availability” and “name your price” schemes together to offer the customer up to 40% off the published rate dependent on demand and availability conditions. These fares will only be displayed if they are cheaper than both the Expedia Special Fares and any airline`s published fares. As these are distressed fares, the carrier and precise departure time won`t be known to the user until later on in the purchasing process so not to effect the airlines access to customers, such as business travellers, who may be inclined to purchase the higher yield fares.
Unlike their direct competitors, Expedia`s ESP ensures the up-to-the-second database only provides fares that are actually available, so avoiding disappointment and unnecessary time spent online.
Driving Instructions Input your start and destination addresses and you`ll be given turn by turn driving instructions, with maps, to guide you on your way. The service, which at present works throughout North America, and will be extended to include city to city directions in Europe and the UK, allows you to e-mail the directions on to others Commenting on the improvements to the site, Edward Hanrahan, Business Operations Manager, Expedia.co.uk: “The introduction of Expert Searching and Pricing, ESP, gives our customers in both business and leisure markets even better technology to use to book their travel. Not only does this give them more choice and control in arranging their travel but the information they want to see is displayed faster than ever before. By following customer searching and buying patterns and listening to their feedback, we have been able to develop this new system to give them an intuitive booking process which is really tailored to the individual.” “Airlines too will feel the benefits of ESP as more of their inventory will be sold. We`re confident that ESP will bring greater conversion across all routes and markets. Now the new platform is in place, we`re able to roll-out further improvements to the customer experience across all areas of our business in the months and years to come.