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Expedia is announcing this morning that they have partnered with Baynote to include Baynote’ social search in the Expedia booking engine. Baynote’s social search takes search queries and then can present options to future searchers for refining their query to help find exactly what they are seeking. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
While the information provided talks about increasing the customer experience on Expedia, this type of search might lead to increased transaction rates. Rather than a customer potentially leaving Expedia when he or she doesn’t find what they are seeking, now Baynote can help get the customer to what they are seeking and then book the travel item.
Baynote also powers other corporate customer’s social search including NASA and Motorola.
You know Expedia, right? They began life as a Microsoft company. Yesterday they were fired from MSN. Get out, pack your bags and get out! Beginning yesterday, MSN Travel is now hitched with Orbitz. This change affects customers in the U.S. and in the U.K.
Kyle Peterson from Forbes notes that a Microsoft spokesman said the company decided to switch to Orbitz because it preferred the travel site’s features and customer service.
The monthly traffic that will now be diverted in the air to Orbitz is in the range of 3.5 million unique visitors per month. When I check Expedia’s status board, all lines say "Delayed". This is a big hit for Expedia.
In my opinion Expedia’s usability is much better than Orbitz. Was this deal completed for the reasons listed above or really for financial reasons?
Last month we took a look at Expedia’s traffic using Google Trends. Here’s a chart of Expedia vs. Orbitz. Currently Expedia shows 2x more traffic than Orbitz. This MSN Travel deal could easily bring both companies together in terms of site traffic.
Yesterday we looked at job aggregator traffic. Today we take a look at two sites that are major players in the travel planning and booking space. I took a lot at a variety of travel sites and two stood out: Expedia and TripAdvisor. I use both sites but for different purposes. I am part of the TripAdvisor community and also use the service for hotel reviews. I use Expedia for price information across hotel chains.
The chart below is very interesting – the traffic to both sites nearly is identical. Both sites appear to be running 600,000 daily unique visitors and that amounts to 18,000,000 monthly uniques. The charts get even closer in May and June.