ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

Expedia unbuckles 3D Touch to streamline mobile bookings

Expedia is ramping up engagement and sales within its mobile application by leveraging 3D Touch, which allows users to search hotels, request directions and share their flight status directly from the brand’s icon on their home screens.

Expedia’s decision to integrate 3D Touch capabilities into its app speaks to its desire to provide a streamlined browsing experience to precede mobile bookings. As third-party booking services vie for the most screen time on consumers’ smartphones, adopting the newest commerce-friendly technologies will give brands a leg up on their competitors.

“We invested in 3D Touch to streamline the process for some very common and critical customer needs: view trips, get directions to your hotel, share your flight status, and book a hotel tonight,” said Jerald Singh, senior director of mobile product at Expedia. “We are actively trying to enhance the experience for our customers and test unique technologies as they come to market.”

Spotlight on 3D Touch
Expedia is one of the early-adopter brands leveraging 3D Touch, which is slowly transforming into a must-have app feature for any marketer wanting to ramp up customer engagement and sales.

The travel company’s newest iOS app update enables users to tap 3D Touch to more easily search hotels, share their flight status, view trip itineraries, book accommodations and receive hotel directions.

All of this can be done by pressing on the Expedia app icon on the smartphone home screen. The 3D Touch technology allows individuals to pop open various app functions and peek at them before being taken to the appropriate page.

Consequently, consumers thinking about purchasing a getaway can simplify the searching process on mobile, a notion that could sway them to book via Expedia rather than a competitor.

Individuals who have already booked a trip may keep their itinerary at their fingertips with the 3D Touch feature, preventing them from losing important information or having to sift through their smartphone to locate destination details.

They can also request for Expedia to send them directions to their hotel, which could come in handy for travelers taking a taxi or Uber to their resort.

The travel brand believes 3D Touch will be a useful tool for many mobile-savvy consumers.

“We’re optimistic 3D Touch will be a feature customers explore as they get familiar with the notion of pressurized interactions with devices in addition to the standard taps and swipes,” Mr. Singh said.

While it is not yet apparent how the new tool will affect mobile bookings, Expedia can only benefit from providing its customers with additional features to streamline their browsing and buying experiences.

Groupon is also fueling engagement with its iOS mobile app by incorporating 3D Touch to further highlight daily deals and offer more user interaction (see story).

Mobile sales help
Expedia is also employing mobile in several other aspects of its booking business, especially where sales are concerned.

The brand is currently focusing on serving its customers mobile-exclusive deals and making sure they are fully informed on how to save more through its app via a recent update that adds messaging for discount walkthroughs (see story).

These new initiatives come on the heels of Expedia’s announcement that it has added another online travel agent, HomeAway, to its digital repertoire, giving it another form of leverage to use against competitors such as Airbnb.

“Mobile remains a big focus for Expedia,” Mr. Singh said. “Travel is inherently mobile.

“We want to help travelers through their entire journey. Our development teams are always thinking about mobile scenarios and how the Expedia travel experience flows between devices.”