Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE), a leading online travel service, announced today the availability of a new flight pricing service that lets travelers find the flight times they need without having to sacrifice price. The service, an enhancement to the “Build Your Own Trip” option in a search for fares, is especially powerful for small and medium businesses with mobile workforces, time-sensitive travel schedules, and limited travel budgets.
“Customers, and especially business travelers, told us that they like the control Expedia provides for choosing flight times leg by leg, but they also want access to the same low fares associated with traditional roundtrips,” said Richard Barton, president and CEO of Expedia. “This new feature of Build Your Own Trip provides our customers with both—great times and great prices. As a traveler, how many times have you asked, ‘I wonder how much this flight would cost if I leave at 5:00 instead of 3:00?’ This service lets customers answer that question in a matter of seconds by searching the billions of possible route and fare combinations and displaying the results in an easy-to-read format.”
To use the new service, customers can log on to the Expedia.com? (www.expedia.com) Web site and choose the “Build Your Own Trip Flight By Flight” option within the “Roundtrip Search” section. Throughout the process, customers can see the best available roundtrip fare totals even as they choose each leg—the best roundtrip total is automatically updated to reflect the customer’s choices. This makes it easy to piece together the legs that best fit both their schedule and their budget. Previously, travelers who wanted to control the times for individual legs of their flight waited until after both legs were chosen to see the price and had to play a guessing game at which combinations would yield lower cost flights. Now, in one easy-to-read view, a customer may find that the fare for a more conveniently timed return flight costs only a few dollars more than the original roundtrip fare. Additionally, customers have access to as many as 1,200 possible itineraries in two screens, versus the traditional 10 to 15 itinerary options given in other industry providers’ fare searches.
The “Build Your Own Trip” enhancement is the first implementation of the recently announced Expedia Best Fare Search (BFS) technology, a flight pricing engine that executes complex pricing queries using proprietary software running on the Microsoft® Windows NT® platform and that was developed in conjunction with WORLDSPAN. This release marks two key industry firsts: Expedia is the first online travel agency to deliver its own pricing engine, and this is the first time a commercially used flight pricing engine has utilized the Windows® platform. The BFS system, which is fully scaleable and can accommodate massive transaction volumes, can manipulate more than 400 billion flight and fare combinations at a time.