May 29, 2007: Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has admitted the online giant has to increase its commitment to service as consumers become more demanding about the quality of their holiday.
Simply providing a large range of product ranked by price was no longer the way to win over clients who are now focused on ´experience´ rather than just jetting off somewhere new.
Khosrowshahi, who has been in charge of Expedia since it was hived off from parent company InterActive Corporation in 2005, said that could mean the online giant having more need for expert call centre staff, citing an example he witnessed first-hand at the company´s Seattle headquarters recently as evidence. "I was in the call centre when a woman phoned about booking a $12,000 honeymoon," he said. "She´d sourced it online, but wanted the reassurance of speaking to someone.
"Quite clearly, the higher the price of a product, the more ´touch points´ clients want with us. They want more information, they want to talk to a human."
Khosrowshahi said Expedia was looking at ways to incorporate user-generated content from its TripAdvisor site into Expedia. In turn, this would pile pressure on suppliers - especially hotels - to ensure their product was up to scratch.
"There is a growing marketplace for feedback. If we see operators or hotels continually being badly rated by consumers then we will stop working with them.
"Expedia originated out of the idea of cutting transaction costs. But as we have evolved our value is information. Everything is content driven now."