Expedia turns to Amazon Alexa for its first attempt at voice search
Expedia debuted an Alexa “skill” today that enables Expedia customers to ask Alexa about their existing Expedia flight reservations and then to book a car rental or inquire about their Expedia loyalty program numbers.
If there’s a new platform, then leading travel companies will be there to test it because they think consumers might be there too.
So it is with Amazon Alexa, a voice-activated personal assistant, and its Amazon Echo and Echo Dot devices.
Expedia debuted an Alexa “skill” today that enables Expedia customers to ask Alexa about their existing Expedia flight reservations and then to book a car rental or inquire about their Expedia loyalty program numbers. Consumers can’t yet make a flight or hotel bookings through the Expedia Alexa skill but that’s in the works.
This is Expedia’s first voice-activated search product — which can be done hands- and eyes-free — and builds on Expedia’s work in natural language processing, which began three years ago.
Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and online travel founders discussed the potential of voice search at the Skift Global Forum in September, and at a Skift Backstage Podcast here.
While Expedia just debuted its Alexa car-rental skill, flight and hotel metasearch-company Kayak, owned by rival Priceline Group, has had an Alexa skill for checking flight, hotel and car-rental prices for at least six months. Kayak’s Alexa feature doesn’t enable travelers to book anything but in addition to doing price searches the Kayak Explore feature, which is integrated into Alexa, allows consumers to search for vacations if they have little idea or no where they want to go.
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