Expedia.com has unveiled three new features designed to aid customers through the travel planning process: Flight Recommendations, Scratchpad and Itinerary Sharing.
Flight Recommendations analyses more than three billion flight searches performed on Expedia and applies insights to real-time customer search queries suggesting alternative airports, dates or time of travel.
These options and fares reflect patterns that other anonymised customers have booked recently, and are presented to the customer in a box above the standard search results.
For example, there are over 3,000 options when determining a non-stop flight between JFK and LAX on a given day.
By tapping into numbers and information like this, also known as big data, Expedia can make recommendations on other dates or airports that may be more convenient or cost-effective for travellers.
Flight Recommendations is an online travel industry first, the feature reveals potential savings from alternative searches.
Flight Recommendations is available today for desktop customers in the US with global roll-out expected in 2014.
Customers who are signed-in to their Expedia.com account will also spot a new feature called Scratchpad.
This feature neatly stores and organises a customer’s search queries for easy retrieval.
Expedia found that customers will search for a flight online an average of 48 times before booking a trip.
Scratchpad ensures that whenever they return, they have access to previous searches.
Clicking on the Scratchpad button on the Expedia.com homepage expands the search history and refreshes the data, showing the latest prices and inventory.
In addition, for travellers signed in to the Expedia.com mobile app, Scratchpad will remember those searches and save them for viewing on desktop.
The feature saves travellers time because they don’t have to start their search from scratch each time they perform research, and it helps save money by sending customised emails to them when prices change – allowing customers to make smart, informed travel decisions.
Itinerary Sharing allows users to share their live itineraries with their co-workers, friends and/or family.
Friends can have access to the same notifications as the traveller making it easier to track flight departures, arrivals, and delays.
“Customers spend too much time hunting and pecking for the right deal.
“For any given search, there are thousands of ways they can search for a particular trip.
“Each search can produce billions of combinations,” said John Kim, senior vice president, global products, Brand Expedia.
“Flight Recommendations utilises our flight booking data to help travellers find the best flight at the best price available. Scratchpad makes it easy for travellers to log all their options.
“We eliminated the hassle of tracking.
“Scratchpad remembers searches so customers don’t have to.
“Itinerary sharing makes it easy for customers to share their live data with others.
“We are making travel easier.”