It is now possible to get information regarding trips booked through Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE). This is after Expedia.com added a new feature to Alexa. The voice updates and search will work on all Alexa-enabled gadgets such as the Echo devices from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
To start using Expedia on Alexa, owners of Alexa-enabled devices can activate it at no cost. This can be done from the Alexa app by navigating to the ‘Skills’ section and enabling Expedia. Users will then be able to ask Alexa questions and get answers concerning flight statuses, flight times, check-in times, itineraries, and even reservations for rental vehicles all hands-free and eyes-free using only their voice. In order to begin asking Alexa questions, users will be required to begin with the words, ‘Alexa, ask Expedia…’ and then launch into whatever they want to know.
New frontiers in the travel industry
By launching the new skill on Alexa, Expedia outlined its commitment to the growing area of natural language processing technologies and voice recognition.
“Expedia remains committed to investing in voice recognition and natural language processing technologies to gain a deeper understanding of the unique nuances associated with the rapidly evolving field of voice-centered interactions,” chief technology officer and senior vice president of technology of Expedia, Tony Donohue, said.
While this is the initial search product that is voice-activated, Expedia started investing in natural language processing about three years ago. In the recent past, Expedia.com has also deployed the Facebook Expedia bot that helps users get real-time information from Facebook Messenger. At present, the skills on Alexa for Expedia do not include making bookings for hotels or flights but that is in the pipeline.
Going where the competition is
Expedia’s voice-activated search is, however, not the first in the industry. Expedia’s rival, Kayak Software Corp (NASDAQ:KYAK), introduced a similar product several months ago. Kayak’s voice-activated search product, just like Expedia’s, does not have a booking functionality; users can only check prices for hotel rooms, vehicle rentals, and flight. On Kayak, users can also get help on choosing where to go for a vacation if they are short of ideas.
Expedia Inc’s stock price fell by $0.83 closing at $121 a share on Friday’s trading session. Amazon Inc meanwhile closed the day at $743.34 having fallen by 0.45% during Friday’s session.