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Expedia simplifies travel process via new mobile itinerary capabilities

The app uses location-based technology and time zone updates to give users the most relevant part of the itinerary and related information such as airport maps, flight status, confirmation codes and addresses at the moment the traveler is most likely to need that piece of information. The new features are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to build-up its mobile portfolio.

“What we already know from existing investments is that the person who books via mobile has a really different set of needs and what we learned from the first set of needs is this idea of last-minute booking,” said Sarah Gavin, director of public relations at Expedia, Bellevue, WA.

“It’s all about making that entire trip more manageable,” she said. “Air travel in particular can be chaotic.

“And mobile helps manage that.”

Mobile travels
Through Expedia’s new mobile app itineraries feature, consumers can get free flight status updates and one-touch access to the company’s customer service.

Users can also share their itinerary with friends and family via email and SMS.

The mobile itineraries display confirmation code, airline, flight number, travel dates and times, gate information and flight status.

Through the feature, travelers can also browse a flights map that shows pins for departure and arrival, as well as potential layover airports and paths between them.

The app also shows airport terminal maps for more than 200 major airports worldwide.

Via the hotels feature of the app, consumers can view their hotel address, contact information and a map of where it is located.

Additionally, the car rentals tab provides consumers with a confirmation code, car rental company information, phone number for the national 800 number, the local phone number and the pickup and drop-off date and time.

The cruise tab lets users see when the ship starts, then tap their cruise to open up their full itinerary on the Web.

Finally, the destination services feature within the app shows the valid start date for each activity and the date the activity expires.

“It’s amazing to think about how fast technology moves and not having systematic updates can leave you behind,” Ms. Gavin said.

Expedia has been ramping up its mobile booking strategy over the past few years.

In November, the company added flight bookings to its mobile application to make it easier for users to manage their travel itineraries (see story).

Most recently, Expedia expanded its presence in mobile with a Windows 8 application that offered consumers exclusive mobile deals (see story).

“Mobile is huge,” Ms. Gavin said. “Mobile is one of the top priorities for us.

“It’s a different type of customer especially on the mobile phone side – a different type of booking,” she said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York