REDMOND, Wash., July 26, 1999 — Shopping for travel is one of the fastest growing e-commerce activities on the Internet. With sales totaling $3.1 billion in 1998, travel accounts for almost half of all online sales for consumer goods and services. Travel industry analysts at Forrester Research estimate that by 2003 U.S households will make online travel purchases totaling $29 billion in sales.
Expedia.com is currently leading the way in the online travel industry as the most popular destination for travel visitors, and travel spending, on the Internet. In the second quarter of 1999, Expedia.com saw more visitors each month than any other service (according to Media Metrix), with 4.2 million visitors in June alone. In addition, Expedia.com had $183 million in second-quarter sales, more than triple its sales for the same period in 1998.
“Online travel is one of the fastest growing and most competitive segments on the Internet,” said Kathey Hale, Dataquest. “In order to compete in this industry, travel Web sites must focus on providing consumers with low fares, innovative travel planning tools and excellent customer service.”
Expedia.com is continuing to drive its phenomenal growth with the introduction of a newly enhanced site that makes it easier for consumers to find and book the right trip at the right price. Based on extensive customer research, Expedia.com’s new services provide travelers with simple, powerful ways to find low prices, dependable service and support, and informative editorial content.
“Travelers have a blend of three primary travel preferences – price-sensitivity, time-sensitivity and travel provider loyalty,” said Richard Barton, general manager, Expedia.com. “We spent thousands of hours in testing to create a product that addresses all three preferences. The right trip at the right price is readily available. This update to Expedia.com focuses on providing our customers with the best tools to find and book that right trip.”
The most significant Expedia.com enhancement is Fare Compare, which helps travelers easily locate and book the same low airfares millions of other weekly Expedia.com visitors have found on popular routes. Because it searches actual fares found rather than just the lowest published airfares, Fare Compare provides a more reliable way of finding low fares.
Other prominent changes to Expedia.com include new personalization options such as Express Purchase, which streamlines booking by storing customer travel and billing information, allowing consumers to purchase airline tickets with as few as three clicks from the front page. The new My Travel page consolidates personal travel information in one place. To further simplify the site, Expedia.com offers improved travel search tools and a new, easy-to-remember customer service phone number (1-800-EXPEDIA). The all-new Vacation and Cruise wizards expand the breadth and quality of customers’ travel options by providing easy access to thousands of great vacation and cruise deals from more than 30 different travel vendors.
These are but a few of the most notable new consumer services among the many other enhancements to Expedia.com, all designed to help customers get easy access to the right trip at the right price.