LAS VEGAS — Expedia Group is launching a new, purpose-built technology platform that will reward partners for delivering great traveller experiences.
Called Expedia Group Open World, the platform is part of the company’s three-tiered strategy to redefine its place in travel, said Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern at EXPLORE, Expedia Group’s annual partner event that took place this week in Las Vegas.
“We spent the last two years reimagining our potential and decided it was time for a much-needed change,” said Kern. “Rather than a market that has become commoditized around price, we envision a world where travellers are served the right option for their needs, with transparency around value and expectations. We are excited to share the ways we are bringing that to life.”
WHAT IS IT?
Expedia Group Open World, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, was created for partners of all sizes to leverage and configure products and services needed to succeed in the travel ecosystem. It will deliver an entire ecommerce suite, with building blocks like payments, fraud, conversations and service, that anyone can use to accelerate, enhance or even enter the travel business.
“Whether you’re a bank with a rewards program, an airline who wants to expand their offering, a specialty travel agent focused on underserved travellers, or a TikTok influencer helping the world dream of their next destination, if you want to be in the travel business, the Open World platform can help anyone succeed,” added Kern.
As the platform matures, it will become a place where developers, data scientists, marketers, entrepreneurs and others can create new ways to encourage and enable people to travel.
Expedia Group also announced a reimagined marketplace that puts traveller experience at its core. Using data signals like traveller reviews, customer service interactions and more, each hotel property will receive a new guest experience score. This score will directly impact the search and sort factors that drive visibility in Expedia Group’s marketplace algorithm.
Partners will receive personalized insights and actionable recommendations to improve their guest experience scores in line with traveller expectations. Incentivizing partners to deliver better experiences by shifting more bookings to those who score well, the company expects to create better connections between partners and travellers and greater traveller long-term loyalty for all.
Hotel partners can see their guest experience score now by logging into Expedia Group Partner Central. The guest experience score will be visible to travelers in the coming months with plans to roll out to other lines of business later in the year.
“We are redesigning our marketplace all around traveler experience. Travellers search for the right experience at all price points and all levels of star-rating. Our new marketplace will reward partners that put traveller experience first and deliver on the expectations that they’ve set,” said Ariane Gorin, President, Expedia for Business. “We want travelers to have great experiences and to make sure partners get credit for the experiences they deliver. Our goal is to build trust with travellers.”
NEW TRAVELLER FEATURES
The company also introduced three new features designed to add confidence and trust to the travel shopping and booking experience:
Trip Boards: To enable a better travel planning experience, Expedia Group is extending Trip Boards to more product lines. Trip Boards serve as a homebase for all things trip related, from hotels to activities, flights and more, enabling travellers to save and book items, and simplifying collaboration with travel companions. Trip Boards is already successful on Vrbo and launches this summer on Expedia, with additional collaboration features later in the year.
Smart shopping: Smart shopping makes it easier for travellers to compare and choose between offers by surfacing a wider range of options earlier and all in one place. For hotels, this includes room attributes, categories, and upgrade opportunities. For flights, this includes different timings, stopovers, seat selection and baggage check. Smart shopping offers travellers more transparency on their purchase, while partners are exposed to incremental revenue opportunities. Smart shopping is live today for hotels and coming soon for flights.
Price tracking: Price tracking shows past trends and future price predictions for flight searches. It empowers travellers to see how their flight prices might change, reducing stress so they can book with confidence at the right time. For partners, it encourages travellers to consider and purchase flights they may otherwise not book. Price tracking is available today on the Expedia app on the U.S. point-of-sale for flights. It will be extended to hotels later this year.
To learn more about Expedia Group Open World, watch the General Session at EXPLORE 2022 here.