Expedia Launches First Singapore-Based Innovation Lab in Asia Pacific to Drive Consumer Research Development in the Region
The Lab will deploy scientific techniques to understand consumer behaviour in order to optimise Expedia’s websites and apps
SINGAPORE, April 6, 2017 – The Expedia group (NASDAQ:EXPE) today unveiled its first Expedia Innovation Lab in Asia located in Singapore. The Lab will use proprietary scientific methods to better understand Asia-consumer online and app travel search and booking behaviour, which will inform future innovation and technology developments globally.
The lab deploys two primary technical capabilities, eye tracking and electromyography (EMG) technology, to uncover how travellers engage with Expedia’s family of websites. Using a “test and learn” approach, the insights provide a deeper understanding of the “whys” of consumer behaviour to not only improve our sites and mobile to be more user-friendly and efficient but to ultimately increase booking confidence and delight.
Dara Khosrowshahi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Expedia Inc. said, “Singapore is home to Expedia Asia’s headquarters and many of our business leaders. We have a growing business here and across Asia with huge milestones ahead of us, and are investing aggressively in building our network of partners, our teams, as well as our consumer facing brands, technology and innovation. The launch of the Expedia Innovation Lab in Singapore marks a significant milestone for our business in the region. Similarly, we believe that capability building – through a firm commitment to our local ecosystem, new innovations and knowledge sharing, will fuel the local economy in the travel, tourism and technology industry.”
[quote align=’right’]”We believe that capability building – through a firm commitment to our local ecosystem, new innovations and knowledge sharing, will fuel the local economy in the travel, tourism and technology industry.” – Dara Khosrowshahi[/quote]
“We are pleased that Expedia has chosen to establish its Innovation Lab in Singapore, which will leverage data, technology and science to generate insights about travellers in Asia. This builds on and strengthens the growing talent pool and capabilities in Singapore for understanding the Asian consumer,” said Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, Dr. Beh Swan Gin.
The lab deploys two primary technical capabilities, which when combined with real-time questioning, uncovers how travellers engage with Expedia’s family of websites:
- Electromyography (EMG) technology: Expedia researchers track the changes in the EMG readings of traveller-participants to better understand the real-time impact that the experience is having on the subject as he or she navigates the site or app booking process.
- Eye tracking technology for site and app: When paired with eye-tracking, researchers with unique skills in cognitive psychology and data analytics are able to get a sharp read on exactly where the user was looking, what actions they took as a result of emotional responses to what they were seeing, and explore triggers in the respondents’ travel-search or booking decision, be it delight or frustration.
While each individual has a unique experience while booking a trip, collectively this data reveals trends that inform future site and app innovation, in this case, specific to Asia Pacific travelers. In this way, Expedia makes the change that really matter to customers, which helps both them and its partners.
Based on this information, Expedia then implements a scientific ‘test-and-learn’ approach to trial site and app improvements. The ‘scientific method’ is at the core of Expedia’s test-and-learn approach, with 1,450 tests (based on traveller insights) implemented in 2016 (up from 1,375 in 2015).
[quote align=’left’]“We are pleased that Expedia has chosen to establish its Innovation Lab in Singapore, which will leverage data, technology and science to generate insights about travellers in Asia. This builds on and strengthens the growing talent pool and capabilities in Singapore for understanding the Asian consumer,” -Dr. Beh Swan Gin [/quote]
The Asia Pacific Travel Landscape
Asia Pacific’s travel sector continues an upward trend and is expected to reach USD392 million this year (*Phocuswright report) with online travel market expected to make up over one-third of the region’s travel spend. This exponential growth in online travel also means that travellers now must make decisions amidst overwhelming choices and information overload. In fact, a recent study found that 81 percent of travellers abandon travel bookings online, and 13 percent cite long booking process or complicated checkout as reasons for abandoning their online travel booking.
Using Scientific Methodology to Address the Complexity of Travel Planning
With EMG, small sensors are placed on the cheek and eyebrow of test subjects, and the sensors record tiny changes in the user’s facial muscles. Expedia’s researchers then track the changes in the EMG readings to understand the real-time impact that the experience is having on the subject as the person navigates the booking process. When paired with eye-tracking, researchers will be able to get a precise read on exactly where the user was looking and what actions they took as a result.
Testing New Product Innovations and Transforming Travel Booking
As the world’s largest online travel company with over 200 travel booking sites, the Expedia group is committed to experimenting with new technologies and learning from customer insights to develop innovative solutions for travellers. In addition to gaining a more nuanced understanding of how consumers behave when making their travel bookings online and apps, Expedia’s research and design teams will also analyze the data to test new products or make better product decisions.
One of the product innovations developed out of Expedia’s Innovation Lab was the Scratchpad, an intelligent personal assistant to help travellers record the searches performed or results found, replacing the need for taking physical notes. The feature also automatically updates flight or hotel prices along with the latest information, eliminating the need for travellers to start over their search. Since its launch, Scratchpad has evolved to include price trends and price prediction functionality.
This is the third Expedia Innovation Lab for the company; one in its Bellevue headquarters and the other recently launched in London; and the first for Asia Pacific.
About the Expedia group
The Expedia group (NASDAQ: EXPE) is the world’s largest online travel company, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes leading online travel brands, such as:
- Expedia.com®, a leading full service online travel company with localised sites in 33 countries
- Hotels.com®, a leading global lodging expert operating 89 localised websites in 39 languages with its award winning Hotels.com® Rewards loyalty program
- Orbitz Worldwide, including leading U.S. travel websites Orbitz.com and CheapTickets.com, as well as ebookers, a full service travel brand with websites in seven European countries
- Expedia® Affiliate Network (EAN), a global B2B brand that powers the hotel business of leading airlines, top consumer brands, online travel agencies and thousands of other partners through its API and template solutions
- trivago®, a leading online hotel search platform with sites in 55 countries worldwide
- HomeAway®, a global online marketplace for the vacation rental industry, which also includes the Abritel, FeWo-direkt and BedandBreakfast.com brands, among others
- Egencia®, a leading corporate travel management company
- Travelocity®, a leading online travel brand in the U.S. and Canada delivering customer service when and where our customers need it with the Customer 1st Guarantee
- Hotwire®, inspiring spontaneous travel through Hot Rate® deals
- Expedia® Media Solutions, the advertising sales division of the Expedia group that builds media partnerships and enables brand advertisers to target a highly-qualified audience of travel consumers
- Wotif Group, a leading portfolio of travel brands including com®, Wotif.co.nz, lastminute.com.au®, lastminute.co.nz and travel.com.au®
- Classic Vacations®, a top luxury travel specialist
- CarRentals.com™, a premier online car rental booking company with localised sites in 13 countries
- Expedia Local Expert®, a provider of online and in-market concierge services, activities, experiences and ground transportation in over a thousand destinations worldwide
- Expedia® CruiseShipCenters®, a provider of exceptional value and expert advice for travelers booking cruises and vacations through its network of over 230 retail travel agency franchises across North America
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For more information, please contact:
Lavinia Rajaram Julie Toh
Expedia brand IN.FOM (Partnering agency forExpedia.com.sg®)
(65) 8428 0079 (65) 9782 5190