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March 28, 2014's mobile site’s most significant redesign in over a decade recently debuted to address mobile’s growing role for travelers and boasts faster page loading, smart recommendations and responsive design.

The new homepage is optimized for desktops and mobile devices to load pages nearly twice as fast as before, enabling users to get to the booking wizard in just more than one second. The site also features a more streamlined layout that puts a bigger focus on travel imagery and the search interface.

“Globally, we are continuing to see a significant rise in connected devices and mobile device usage while traveling,” said Tarran Vaillancourt, public relations manager at Expedia, Bellevue, WA. “Customers are increasingly using mobile devices to search and even book travel beyond just same-day hotel rooms and last-minute flights.

“Considering Expedia consumers search as many as 48 times across the Web before feeling ready to book, one of our main goals with this redesign was to provide modern, increasingly mobile travelers with a beautiful, simple and engaging platform that is consistent across all their devices,” she said. “This way, customers have access right at their fingertips to the same clean, accessible, and seamless Expedia travel planning experience no matter where or what kind of device they’re using to search and book.”

Simpler mobile bookings
With industry research showing that more people are browsing, searching and booking travel on their smartphones and tablets than ever before, Expedia undertook the redesign with the goal of simplifying mobile bookings. The redesign is based on usability testing and direct customer feedback from millions of travelers who plan and book trips with Expedia each month.

With Expedia’s internal research revealing that customers search as many as 48 times across the Web before feeling confident enough to book air travel, a key focus was designing a travel search experience that is clear, clean and easy to navigate.

For example, the new homepage features one-click access to search Expedia’s inventory of flights, hotels and more, and recommendations based on previous activity, thereby reducing the number of clicks required to go from homepage to booking.

The new homepage design is now available in the United States with global roll out coming later this year.

Broader appeal
The redesign is meant to help Expedia broaden its reach and appeal a new audience of travelers who is not sitting in front of a desktop.

Another goal was to build loyalty by making it easier for customers to find and use Expedia’s free digital travel planning tools and resources, thereby encouraging them to return to the site.

“We’re also really excited about how the new design makes it easier for people to find and use helpful site features like Scratchpad, which stores and organizes all customer searches for later use so they don’t have to start from scratch each time they visit the Web site,” Ms. Vaillancourt said.

“With our seamless mobile integration, Scratchpad even remembers searches for users signed in to the mobile app for viewing on desktop, saving travelers both time and money through customized emails alerting them to when prices change,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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