How Expedia’s voice search experience has become
When many functions are able to serve users, Alexa platform may choose Google’s algorithmic-based results or “pay-to-play” marketplace.
Expedia spends about $1.3 billion annually on technology. Its strategy is built on balancing the human touch with the automation of technology, taking cues from its customers as to what best meets their needs.
In November 2016, Expedia launched its skill for Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, enabling travelers to use their voice to search for hotels and flights, add a rental car to an existing trip, check flight status and details and review loyalty points.
“What we've observed to date is while it's great that we’ve proven we can transact, the consumers en masse are not ready yet to be doing that at the scale that we see on the web or on mobile apps,” says vice president for global product Brent Harrison.
Another impediment, he notes, to widespread consumer adoption is the current clunky process of interacting with brands on the Alexa platform. Users either need to be aware that a brand has a skill, or find it via search in the Alexa Skills store, and then ask Alexa to enable it. To make full use of Expedia’s Alexa capabilities, users must also then log into their Expedia account.
“I think those are all friction points to consumer adoption and usage today, particularly for travel companies because most travel companies are not daily use cases - you know, it's not like weather or music or sports or news or traffic,” Harrison says.
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