Expedia Group revamps marketplace, tech platform as part of new strategy

the Expedia Group from two years ago is no more, according to the company’s vice president and CEO, Peter Kern, who arrived this time in 2020 to replace former CEO Mark Okerstrom.

At the company’s annual Explore partner event, Expedia Group unveiled a new three-tier strategy designed to serve its partners, travelers and the industry, including a new technology platform called Expedia Group Open World and a system that rewards hotels for providing a better guest experience. .

“It’s not the Expedia Group we were two years ago, let alone two decades ago,” Kern says.

“We’ve spent the past two years reinventing our potential and decided it was time for much-needed change. Rather than a market that has become commoditized around price, we envision a world where travelers are presented with the right option for their needs, with transparency around value and expectations. We’re excited to share the ways we bring this to life.

A key feature of the new vision is a reinvented marketplace that rewards hotels that deliver the traveler experience.

Using data signals including traveler reviews and customer service interactions, hotels will receive a guest experience score that will directly impact the search and sort factors that drive visibility in the marketplace. Expedia Group Market Algorithm.

Partners will receive actionable insights and recommendations to improve their customer experience scores based on traveler expectations. By implementing this system – whereby partners who deliver better experiences gain position for more bookings – Expedia Group expects better connections between partners and travelers and greater long-term traveler loyalty. , a priority Kern outlined earlier this week in the company’s first quarter 2022 earnings report.

“We are reimagining our marketplace all around the traveler experience. Travelers are looking for the right experience at all price points and at all star rating levels. Our new marketplace will reward partners who put the experience first travelers and meet the expectations they have set,” said Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia for Business.

“We want travelers to have great experiences and we make sure partners get credit for the experiences they deliver. Our goal is to build trust with travelers.

According to Clayton Nelson, vice president of strategy and transformation at Expedia Group, the company has vast amounts of data – including check-in, cleanliness, communication, cancellations, etc., and more. user reviews – to inform how customers experience a property.

End-to-end scores provide an “incredibly rich picture of what the experience looks like,” Nelson says. “Over time, we will engage and share more of these signals with partners and expose them to travelers. [through the guest experience score].”

“At a very high level, we want to be fair,” he continues. “We have processes in place that allow for fairness.”

As the market evolves, Nelson explains, Expedia Group will offer additional programs — including access to higher-tier loyalty members and additional tools “partners have been waiting for” — exclusively to hotels with high-performing institutions.

The customer experience score will be visible to travelers in the coming months with plans to roll out to other business areas later in the year.

Technical tools

Also announced today, the Expedia Group Open World technology platform is being created to enable partners to operate and configure products and services.

It contains a complete e-commerce suite, with components such as payments, fraud, conversations and service, which partners can use to improve their business. It is also designed for anyone looking to get into the travel industry.

“Whether you’re a bank with a rewards program, an airline looking to expand its offering, a specialty travel agent focused on underserved travelers, or a TikTok influencer helping the world dream of its next destination, if you want to be in corporate travel, the Open World platform can help anyone succeed,” says Kern.

“By helping everyone leverage our technology and offering, Open World will enable our new and existing partners to thrive in the travel market with a suite of solutions tailored to their needs, all powered by our massive artificial intelligence and our machine learning,” said Rathi Murthy, Chief Technology Officer of Expedia Group.

“Choice is also considered in our new platform. Partners will be able to choose exactly what works for them. »

Trip planning

Additionally, Expedia Group introduced three new features designed to build trust in the travel shopping and booking experience.

Features include expanding Trip Boards, which serve as the basis for all travel components, including hotels, activities and flights, to more product lines. Already on Vrbo, Trip Boards will be launched this summer on Expedia.

Meanwhile, the smart shopping feature will make it easier for travelers to compare and choose between a wider range of surface options such as hotel room attributes and upgrades as well as flight times, stopovers and seat selection, giving travelers more transparency about their purchase and their partners. more additional income opportunities. Smart shopping is now available for hotels and will soon be available for flights.

Finally, the price tracker feature shows past trends and future price predictions for flight searches, allowing travelers to see how their flight prices might change and encouraging them to consider flights they might not be able to book. otherwise. The feature is currently available on the Expedia app at US outlets for flights and will expand to hotels later this year.

A year ago, Expedia Group revamped its core brand, Expedia.com, with an updated app and website, consolidated booking flows, trip planning features, bundles, insurance and more. Moreover. These efforts, and today’s announcements, all tie into Kern’s initial statement about his intention to make Expedia Group the best travel technology platform in the world. Period.”

* The journalist’s presence at the event was supported by Expedia Group.