“If I look into the future, the war for having the best booking experience is kind of almost over,” Expedia Group President and CEO Mark Okerstrom says, speaking at the company’s Research Summit in San Francisco.
“In many ways, the booking experience has become standardized. Not even just in travel; e-commerce in general.”
The next “vector of innovation,” he says, happens after the booking is made. “The days of driving huge conversion gains by changing the fields where you enter credit card information – there are diminishing returns on those types of changes.”
For Expedia, the question becomes how to change the experience from being “click-focused to customer-focused,” which Okerstrom believes is enabled through data (“data knows more about your business than you do”) and development in technologies such as artificial intelligence.
“It starts with creating a real vision and a real view on what [that future] could be.”
Research, Okerstrom says, is critical in understanding Expedia’s customers – but not when it’s presented as a test-and-learn model.
“If I had my way, I would completely abolish the phrase test and learn,” he says. “I love testing, but test and learn is limiting. What you have to do is learn.”
Expedia has been able to innovate and learn because it has access to mass amounts of data, he continues, and “unlike some place like the Apple Store, we’re able to show hundreds of different versions of our store simultaneously,” he says.
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