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Expedia Group unveils scientific approach to innovation

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Expedia Group, the world’s travel platform with an extensive portfolio of leading travel brands spanning across 35 languages in over 75 countries, has revealed its framework of innovation, designed to solve some of the everyday challenges that Thai hoteliers face.

Technology is evolving at a rapid rate and the pace of innovation is changing how businesses deliver and meet ever-evolving consumer expectations. As a result, Expedia Group witnessed an increasing amount of interactions made by consumers and hoteliers on its platform. Specifically, in 2017 alone, it facilitated over 2.3 billion daily interactions on its global marketplace and made over 22,300 platform enhancements for its hotel partners. This means hotel partners benefited from Expedia Group’s improved products and features every 24 minutes throughout the year.[1]

Pimpawee NopakitgumjornDirector of market management at Expedia Group, pointed out that the average user of a smartphone checks it 110 times a day[2].In Thailand, the younger generation’s addiction to mobile has prompted Kasetsart University to implement 500-meter-long “mobile users” and “non-mobile users” lanes on its campus[3].

“This means every minute that you have with a customer now is worth way more than it used to be. The time that we have in terms of our ability to influence a customer is at a premium like it never has been before.” Nopakitgumjorn added,

“This is why at the heart of our innovation process is partner feedback – understanding and solving for their needs, wants and requirements. By listening to hotel partners who work with us on a daily basis, we are able to best leverage our technology and know-how to build solutions that helps hoteliers solve some of their business challenges.”

Expedia Group’s framework for innovation starts with the empathy stage which is about developing a deep understanding of hotelier’s operations and daily challenges.This is followed by the invention stage where teams develop multiple hypotheses for what could be a successful solution based on the learnings from problems that hotel partners want to solve. The final stage is testing these inventions and constantly course-correcting depending on the signals the teams receive from the live environment.

The approach requires development of new ideas, testing, observing, evaluating, and interrogating to create an improved product in the next version. Every change leads to new insights, which in turn have a decisive influence on the next step. The aim is to place Expedia Group’s customers and hotel partners at the center of product development, and tailor solutions precisely to their wishes.

With a commitment to delivering best-in-class tools and insights for the hospitality industry, Expedia Group has been making enhancements to its partner-facing platform – Partner Central.

One tool within Partner Central, known as ‘Real-time Feedback’ allows the hotelier to address any concerns the guest might have on the spot. Post check in, guests who booked through Expedia Group sites, will receive a notification via email after checking in: “How was your check-in?”. By reviewing the responses, hoteliers gain insight into the sentiment of their guests in real-time, giving them the opportunity to mitigate any chance of a guest leaving dissatisfied and posting a negative review.

Data has shown that hotels that respond to Real-time Feedback (positive or negative)receive up to 10% better ratings after the stay compared to hotels that do not.2