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Travel group Expedia aims to predict your holiday plans

18/06/2014 by


Travel group Expedia is developing technology that will predict the needs of its customers before they phone to book a holiday or query existing hotel bookings or flight plans.

The $4.7bn travel company aims to forewarn its call handlers on the likely reason for a call from a customer before they pick up the phone, by piecing together data about their journey, travel plans and travel history.

Expedia, which owns brands including, Hotwire and Trivago, also plans to alert travellers to flight delays, changes in their itinerary and other problems by text, and offer them alterative travel options.

The move is part of a drive by the travel company to focus on customer service, at a time of increasingly intense price competition among travel providers, saysMikko Ollila, senior manager for product management at Expedia, in an interview with Computer Weekly.

“You can actually service the customers better in a way that makes the traveller feel safe and confident. I think that is one of the areas where we can truly fight for customer loyalty,” he says.

Intelligent travel data

Expedia, which is investing several million dollars a year in the project, plans to use tools from Pegasystems to provide customers with tailored advice and services.

The company is using a combination of its own Java-based in-house booking software and Customer Process Manager (CMP) case management software from Pegasystems to manage customer calls and bookings.

It plans to build on the data analytics capabilities of CMP to predict what deals they may be looking for in the future by analysing their travel and booking histories.

Expedia’s ultimate aim is to eliminate the need for customers to call the company by anticipating their needs in advance.

If a flight is cancelled or delayed, or a customer needs to change a hotel reservation, the system will contact the traveller and offer them two or three alternative choices.

And if customers do call in, rather than requiring them to go through their entire travel history the call centre agent will already know why they are calling and have options lined up to help them, says Ollila.

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