Expedia predicts that voice will trump over chatbots and artificial intelligence as the biggest disrupter in travel in the near term.
The company, which said it spends some US$1.3 billion a year on technology, demonstrated the use of its voice-activated hotel booking app, Alexa, at the Expedia Partner Conference last week, showing how a customer can use voice to search, book, pay for a hotel booking, check-in and access the room key from the home screen of the app.
Arthur Chapin, Expedia’s senior vice president, global product & design, said the company is piloting the product in three properties in Denmark before rolling it out to partners in a couple of years.
Expedia’s CEO Mark Okerstrom, when asked by TTG Asia what will be the biggest disrupter and how he is prioritising technological innovations, said: “Voice is incredibly interesting.”
“The initial idea with mobile was that everyone’s going to take their desktop experience and put it on a mobile device, but we quickly learnt having a super computer (i.e. mobile) with you all the time changed things – 50-70 per cent of our mobile bookings came on the same day or next day and before we knew, we were able to target customers with offerings (such as) in-destination activities.
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