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Expedia is extending its reach by unveiling a Spanish language site for mobile and desktop users equipped with the same features as its point-of-sale English site, proving that third-party travel marketers must ensure their services reach any interested consumer and transcend language barriers.

Consumers will be able to visit the site by keying in on their mobile devices and computers, and will have the same functionalities available on the English site, such as searching for and booking flights or car rentals. As the booking application and mobile site sector grows more competitive, more travel brands must offer additional language options on mobile as smartphone growth skyrockets.

“With more than 37 million Spanish speakers and 64 million smartphone users reported in the U.S., offering Expedia’s mobile site in Spanish was an important step for our business and an important step for our Spanish speaking customers to be able to book travel easily on-the-go,” said a spokeswoman with Expedia, Bellevue, WA.

“Extending the services we offer on our desktop site to our mobile site has been an important part of our strategy. We’re pleased to expand the language features of and learn from the user interactions.”

Enhanced user experience
By offering its mobile site and booking options to Spanish-speaking consumers, who make up a significant portion of the United States population, Expedia is branching out to an untapped market that many other travel brands have yet to leverage.

Furthermore, it is possible that users who feel more comfortable making reservations in Spanish will flock to use Expedia’s services over another third-party marketer, therefore undercutting the competition.

Customers who visit the Spanish site will see a slew of options on the top bar of the site to peruse, including “Hoteles,” “Vuelos,” “Autos” and “Actividades.” The ability to search through hotels, planes, rented cars and activities will likely augment the user experience for a consumer whose native language may not be English.

As the number of last-minute booking applications grows, travel marketers may also need to adopt newer technologies such as Apple Pay and Touch ID to offer streamlined in-app payment options and remain competitive (see story).

However, Expedia’s dedication to connecting with consumers weekly via social media channels and growing focus on smartphone and tablet applications have contributed to its status as the juggernaut to beat in the mobile travel sector, suggesting that the brand will continue to move from strength to strength in 2015 (see story).

Testing mobile strategies
Expedia’s commitment to testing a variety of mobile marketing strategies does offer it a leg up in the travel and hospitality sector. While many tactics fall under the test-and-learn umbrella, on-the-go and time-strapped consumers are likely to appreciate the mobile-optimized features.

“Expedia will be the first to tell you that it doesn’t have all the answers,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize, Seattle, WA. “In an interview for my upcoming The Art of Mobile Persuasion book, chief marketing officer David Doctorow said the company is moving forward through test and learn.

“To quote him, ‘Having 1,000 at bats in a year means that even a 60 percent failure rate means you have 400 wins under your belt. The beauty of this approach is that now we push teams that win too much to try harder, to build bigger tests, to take more risks,” he said.

“’And it is meeting customer expectations as seen in our business performance.’ That approach is smart since the best mobile marketing and products come from iteration.”

Expedia also plans to roll out a plethora of new mobile tools in the coming year, contributing to its goal of becoming the travel marketer to beat on digital platforms.

“We have a lot in the works!” Expedia’s spokeswoman said. “Recently we launched cars and activities on our mobile app in the U.S.

“We’re looking forward to expanding those offerings to other regions this year.”

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