Expedia Lets Influencers Cash In, Announces AI Product Updates

Expedia influencers

Skift Take

Expedia can’t compete with TikTok or Instagram in audience numbers, so we’ll see how much traction Travel Shops can gain.

With TikTok facing a potential U.S. ban, Expedia Group has introduced Travel Shops, a way for influencers and other content creators to earn commissions when travelers book their recommended hotels.

There are 14 launch partners, and Expedia plans to open up Travel Shops later this year to other influencers who can create content and entice people to book their favorite stays.

Here’s Oneika Raymond’s Travel Faves, for example: “As an avid traveler, the hotels I stay in are just as important as the actual destination itself. Here are a few of my bucket list hotel stays – these properties will blow you away!” she writes.

Her bucket list hotels include Silversands Grenada, Hotel Chalet Al Foss, and Sultan Cave Suites. If you click on any of them, it takes you into the Expedia booking path.

This is a way for content creators to monetize their work — other than through advertising royalties — and they can earn an unspecified commission from Expedia. The content doesn’t disappear after a time like it often does on social media, and travelers get a direct way to book their stays. Travel Shops are on Expedia desktop and in the Expedia app.

How Expedia Is Using AI

Expedia also announced its AI plays at its Expedia Explore 24 conference in Las Vegas this week:

  • Romie, a generative AI travel agent, concierge and personal assistant. Romie is relegated to EG Labs for now, so we really couldn’t take it out for a spin. But one cool thing about Romie seen in a product demo is you can invite Romie into your WhatsApp and iMessage conversations with family to intervene and then help build your itinerary, troubleshoot snafus, and book your vacations.
  • A Personalized Itinerary Builder, riffing off generative AI recommendations, is slated to debut in the Expedia app in the U.S. this summer.
  • The Expedia and Hotels.com Help Centers in the U.S. have been updated with AI to resolve problems quickly, Expedia Group said.
  • Destination Comparison will use generative AI to weigh the merits and demerits of various destinations. It is slated to be live this summer on Expedia Groups three core brands, Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo globally.

Guest Review Summaries, said to be available now, use generative AI to summarize dozens or hundreds of hotel user reviews so travelers don’t have to wade through all of them.

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