Expedia Leans Further into Commerce with New Media Network and AI Tools

Expedia Group has unveiled a series of new products and services designed to make travel planning stress free.
Photo credit: Expedia

Expedia Group has unveiled a series of new products and services designed to make travel planning stress free. At the company’s annual Explore conference, Expedia partners got an inside scoop on more than 40 new offerings, including its new travel media network, a shoppable storefront for content creators and new AI-powered solutions. 
The new travel media network is a result of Expedia’s more than two decades of experience under its Media Solutions division. Using Expedia’s first-party traveler intent and purchase data, the media network can help advertising partners reach consumers via contextual and timely ads. Advertising partners will have access to onsite and offsite advertising capabilities, as well as an in-house creative team to support campaign development across platforms. Expedia media teams also will support advertisers by tapping into existing partnerships with a network of more than 60,000 partners, such as Netflix and Disney+.

“Our robust, first-party data and network of industry-wide partnerships gives us the exclusive ability to translate traveler shopping behavior to actionable insights for our advertising partners,” said Rob Torres, SVP of Expedia Group Media Solutions in a statement. “Our travel media network targets travelers at various touch points on the journey with highly relevant travel content, driving conversion. We’ve only just scratched the surface with building bespoke media campaigns for partners, I’m excited for what’s to come.” 

To learn more about retail media, check out our full guide here.

New Storefront Makes Influencer Travel Tips Shoppable  

Influencer marketing is expected to reach $24 billion in value by the end of this year, and the travel market is increasingly reaping the rewards of content created and shared online. With Travel Shops, Expedia is aiming to bridge the gap between creators’ travel recommendations and consumers’ purchases.  
The Travel Shops storefront is designed to allow content creators to earn commission by creating a customized space where they share travel content. Consumers will be able to access these shops in one central place within the Expedia app, saving them the time and effort of scrolling on social media. Advertising partners will soon be able to benefit from this new venture by sponsoring travel influencers’ collections on their channels, according to Expedia, although the company did not provide a specific date for the launch of these capabilities.  
“We saw an opportunity to reinvent how consumers interact with travel content on social media platforms,” said Jochen Koedijk, Chief Marketing Officer of Expedia Group in a statement. “Travel Shops are a first-of-its-kind travel platform that bridges the gap between content creators and travelers, creating a central hub for curated travel recommendations and a seamless shopping experience. Travel Shops give creators the tools to build unique marketplaces, making it easy to share travel recommendations and providing a more personalized experience for travelers.” 


Using AI to Make Traveling Easier  

AI is playing a critical role in Expedia’s product roadmap, with its new Romie “travel buddy” being the star of 40+ new features. Romie is an AI-powered assistant that can aid in planning, shopping and booking, and is even prepared to help if travel plans go awry.  
Expedia describes it as a travel agent, concierge and personal assistant all in one, learning users’ behaviors and trip preferences and offering guidance along the way. Customers can invite Romie to join SMS group chats so it can add suggestions to live conversations, ask it to apply insights from text conversations to Expedia searches, and even ask the service to build trip itineraries. In the event travelers are faced with weather changes or disruptions that hinder their plans, Romie is designed to offer new suggestions and solutions.  

“We believe in re-imagining the traveler experience, and then using the latest in AI to bring it to life, and with Romie, we’ve done just that,” said Rathi Murthy, CTO of Expedia Group in a statement. “We created an AI assistant with hyper-personalization in mind so that travelers can choose when they want Romie’s help on their own terms. Romie can assist throughout dreaming, planning and traveling or even when things don’t go as planned, all while getting more intelligent as the traveler interacts.” 
This summer, Expedia will unveil a host of other new AI-powered features, including a personalized itinerary builder for Expedia app users, self-service booking management capabilities, a more robust flight and hotel price comparison tool and even a destination comparison tool.  

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