Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!’s new tablet app personalizes travel data for easier use

The app focuses on streamlining the customer experience from the Web site and features new search tools, including the industry’s first combined hotel and flight search on one screen. Expedia claims its new app is a stark contrast to the standard user interface seen in other travel Web sites and apps.

“Based on the in-depth customer research and industry trends we’re seeing, travelers are more and more frequently turning to tablets for daydreaming about where their next vacation might take them so they need easier ways to compare prices across destinations and browse freely — even if they don’t quite know when or where they even want to go yet,” said Tarran Vaillancourt, senior PR manager at Expedia.

Revamping the status quo
According to PhoCusWright data, approximately 40 percent of customers use tablets for browsing travel and hospitality destinations. Expedia’s app seeks to minimize guests’ frustrations with Web site designs that force users to book flights and hotels separately.

The tablet app eliminates this time consuming process and allows users to view prices across destinations on the same screen. When the app is opened, a single search box appears that leads to panels for hotels and flights relevant to the desired location.

“Aside from being the first to offer this for tablets, this is a dramatic reimagining of search for travel – we’re opening doors for easy exploration before travelers have all information for a trip on hand and will continue to innovate to provide more natural, intuitive mobile experiences designed to fit with our customers lifestyles,” said Ms. Vaillancourt.

Customers have a third panel open for researching their chosen options. If users are unsure of the precise destination they are interested in, they are able to explore Expedia’s themed travel destinations for potential vacation ideas at the bottom of the screen.

The app’s collections contain a combination of mobility, design and travel research. When a hotel or flight is selected, the specific details appear on the main screen with a slew of photos for comparable options visible on the side bar.

Expedia is also focusing on integrated trip planning by incorporating Scratchpad into its markets. Once a user is signed into the tablet app, the trips that were researched on the app will be viewable on desktops or mobile Scratchpads, allowing travelers to continue planning their trips from any device.

Personalized options
Personalized data is an imperative strategy for competing brands in the travel industry. Apps have the advantage of offering this personalized travel data without overwhelming the user with a large amount of results and making searches a tedious task.

“Travel has become an integral part of who we are today.  There is increase in business and personal travel, and in general the lifestyles are becoming more and more busy.  In such times, making a way to use your services most convenient for consumers is the key,” said Vivek Agrawal, vice president of mobile and emerging experiences at Skava.

“Having a 1-3 step process to get to the desired information is the best way to increase your conversion and that’s exactly what Expedia is trying to achieve.  Amazon does it great with one click shop and this is the standard that all businesses are looking to follow.”

Expedia’s tablet app focuses heavily on graphics to counter the large onslaught of information that Web sites sometimes offer. The graphics contribute to the easy-to-use options and remove the previous Web site issues of offering too many starting points and questions for users to begin searching with.

“This is extremely helpful for people who enjoy that ‘lean-back’ experience tablet devices provide because it eliminates the need for them to manually search for each component of a trip one at a time or enter a wealth of details with each search, and delivers a more immersive, visual way to casually browse destinations and discover their next great trip,” said Ms. Vaillancourt.

By focusing on personalized data and more streamlined search options, Expedia will be able to cater to its target audiences.

“Providing the right experience for the right channel is what Expedia has seem to focus on, which is the right strategy, in my opinion,” said Skava’s Mr. Agrawal.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York