Today, Expedia is rolling out a new skill for Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices in advance of the busiest travel season of the year.
With the Expedia skill enabled, travelers can ask Alexa for details on flights, hotel reservations, and other parts of their trip booked through Expedia. They can also ask Alexa to reserve a rental car, with price comparisons.
The Bellevue, Wash. travel giant announced the tool on stage today at re:Invent, the annual Amazon Web Services conference in Las Vegas.
“I think that the search experience — which is ‘please book me a hotel in New York, Midtown next week’ — I think the search and query experience is much better served through voice,” he said.
The idea of a virtual assistant powering Expedia isn’t as novel as you might think. At a travel conference in October, Rich Barton said he founded Expedia in 1996 with “a synthetic, intelligent travel agent” in mind.
Khosrowshahi believes Expedia, with its robust product and technology teams, can lead the pack in building voice experiences. Khosrowshahi’s comments suggest the new Alexa skill may be just the beginning for Expedia when it comes to this technology.
“The kind of questions that you start getting are going to be much broader, are going to be much more random, and are going to be much more complex and that, I think, creates a terrific opportunity for companies like ours to stand head and shoulders above some of the other companies,” he said.
The full interview is online here.
Watch a demo of Expedia’s new Alexa skill below: