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Expedia vows to ‘reinvent’ online travel

Expedia claims to have invented online travel 15 years ago and that it is now on the verge of reinventing it for the Web 3.0 age.

Speaking to Travel Weekly sister website Travolution this week, new UK managing director Andy Washington, who joined from Thomas Cook in June, remained silent on details of what the online travel giant has planned. But he revealed the first signs of what Expedia is cooking up will start to emerge within weeks.

In his first trade interview since joining, Washington, who has 19 years experience in the travel industry having worked for lastminiute.com and Cosmos, said a new era beckons for Expedia.

The online travel agent has already hinted at what is to come in its latest brand television advertising which showcases its people and its expertise rather than its offers.

And this move away from commoditising hotel rooms or aircraft seats, from the global corporate behemoth to a more local, customer-centric entity will characterise its transformation. Washington said the strategy in place at Expedia is “the most exciting” he has seen in his nearly two decades in travel.

“It’s all about the trip planning process, social media, the booking process and customer experience whilst in resort or the hotel and when they come back home as well,” he said.

“Expedia has been a very corporate business that commoditised travel products and sold them online. They did not focus on looking after consumers, but we will do a much better job of that going forward.

“This is about Web 3.0 and how customer interaction evolves. It’s about interacting with social media, on mobile, online – everything is part of your booking experience.”

Washington could not reveal specifics, but said the next two years will see Expedia’s site undergo a transformation with the key aims of improving the planning stage of booking trips and increase loyalty.

As well as enhancements to the functionality of the core site consumers can expect new mobile apps, social media integration and an expanded product range.

For the full interview with Washington go to the Travolution website.

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