Expedia is a travel company that operates online and provides users with the ability to create their own holidays by booking the various aspects of their trip individually.
For instance, if you want to organize a trip to Paris, you could use Expedia to find flights, hotels and transfer options independently from one another and thereby save money and create an entirely tailored experience that they might otherwise be unable to get.
In this quick guide we will look at the company, their mission statement, their features and who should consider using their services for their own travels.
Expedia first launched in October 22, 1996 and was the first Microsoft internet property – something not many people realize these days. In 2001, Bill Gates made the decision to spin off the property to become public, creating ‘Expedia Inc’ and thereby raising the financial portfolio of Microsoft.
Today the company has localized sites in 30 different countries, though the headquarters are located in Bellevue Washington. It also operates at more than 100 branded points of sale and powers bookings for over 10,000 different partners. It specializes in handling bookings for airlines, hotels, hostels, airport shuttles, cars, attractions and more.
The word Expedia is derived from the words ‘exploration’ and ‘speed’. The ‘X’ was included,according to the first CEO Richard Barton, as it is a high point Scrabble letter…
Brands and Subsidiaries
Expedia also has numerous subsidiaries and until recently owned TripAdvisor, which it had a large part in developing (Expedia bought TripAdvisor in 2004 when it was InterActive Corp but it has since been spun out to become a public company). Trip Advisor allows users to review their experiences with a range of hotels,restaurants, tourist attractions and more. It is the world’s largest travel site, with over 60 million users and 170 million reviews.
While TripAdvisor is no longer a part of Expedia Inc., the company does still own a number of other leading online travel brands. These include:
- Hotels.com– A website for booking hotels.
- Hotwire Group
- Orbitz – A relatively new acquisition that cost the company $1.2 billion.
- Trivago – A travel meta search engine that focuses predominantly hotels. It can compareprices for more than 730,700 hotels.
Expedia’s website is easy to navigate and features a largely yellow and white color scheme. On the front page you have the option to select whether you’re looking for flights, hotels, cars, attractions or a combination of those things. You can then enter the dates that you are traveling and hit ‘search’ to see availability and prices.
The list that arrives can then be arranged by price, by guest rating, by recommendation or more. Reviews make it easy to find out more information about the hotels and attractions you are looking at, though the controls don’t make it terribly easy to browse prospectively if you don’t have dates of travel in mind yet.
The website can also be a little slow when checking availability and performing other functions and some hotels neglect to put up their pictures. Nonetheless, the experience overall is smooth, fast and enjoyable.
Tip: To get more from Expedia it can sometimes be worthwhile checking the website of the hotel itself as well as looking through at its listing. This way you can see more images and maybe get more information as well.
Expedia isa large company and has a very positive reputation overall. This can provide some comfort and reassurance when booking a hotel that you aren’t familiar with, or using a company you haven’t heard of before. Expedia are quick to help you sort out disagreements, to provide customer service over the phone and to offer advice and help. Generally they appear to be ‘on the side’ of the customer and are happy on occasion to foot the bill. They also provide travel insurance through third parties which works as advertised, for extra protection.
That said,the service and quality of the specific elements you book will vary greatly.Expedia does not tightly monitor the providers it works with and there is some varying quality to contend with. In this way, the service is less guaranteed that it would be if you were to use a traditional holiday company.
Advantages of Expedia
The great thing about Expedia is that it allows you to book individual aspects of your trip to make something unique. This means you can stay in one hotel for part of your holiday and another hotel for the other part for example. It also means you can hire cars for part of your trip, or you can go away at unusual times of year for nontraditional amounts of time. If you’re a student looking for a fun,three week trip to Japan staying in a variety of locations and hiring a car,Expedia will let you design that holiday while keeping all your itinerary and details in one place.
The Drawbacks of Expedia
At the same time though, using Expedia involves taking matters into your own hands to some extent.Of course you aren’t going to be dealing with the companies providing the services directly, this means that you may find your taxi service from the airport doesn’t show up, or that the hotel wasn’t quite as conveniently located as advertised. It also means that you’ll have to time everything correctly,communicate with shuttle services about delayed flights and more.
Another disadvantage of Expedia is that it can be more expensive. For certain types of holiday it can be cheaper and Expedia does have the advantage of having lots of partners and access to discounts.However, this can pale in comparison to the discounts afforded by using a package holiday where you are getting bulk discounts and using a company that specializes in arranging deals and combining offers and flights.
Overall,Expedia is a great choice but it will work best for a certain type of holidaymaker who enjoys freedom at the expense of certain creature comforts and who is happy to handle their own plans.