As part of its efforts to unify the disparate brands and technology under the Expedia Group umbrella, the online travel giant has introduced a new technology platform called Open World.
Announced last week at Expedia Group’s Explore partner event, the platform is designed for partners to leverage and configure products and services and contains an entire e-commerce suite, with components like payments, fraud, conversations and service.
Expedia Group CTO Rathi Murthy calls Open World a “huge unlock for us,” as the platform brings together data and capabilities that were up until now fragmented across different brands.
Murthy thinks of the suite of solutions – which include search, sort, content and service – as traditional “Lego blocks” of an online travel agency. While historically, Expedia Group could only deploy these solutions for its larger-scale partners due to the complexity involved, with Open World, the platform can “serve any size partner and be simple to use.”
“After looking at what [Expedia Group was doing with] large partners, we found a game-changing new way to take advantage of our technology,” she says. “We are now ‘deconstructing’ the building blocks of online travel.”
With Open World, Murthy says partners can unlock new revenue opportunities to fit their specific needs. “It’s unlike anything else in the industry,” she says.
“If you’re an airline and want to offer cars to travelers, we will have the building blocks for you. If you’re a hotel and want payments and service, here are those building blocks.”
“It’s democratizing the business of travel,” Murthy continues, adding that the platform allows anyone from TikTok influencers to destination marketing organizations to developers access to Expedia Group’s technology.
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“We want to have a complete set of tools to serve the entire breadth of the industry,” says Karen Bolda, senior vice president, product and technology, demand partner solutions at Expedia Group. “At Expedia, we are focusing on the traveler, and the only way to do that is if the entire ecosystem benefits.”
Adds Ariane Gorin, president of Expedia for Business: “We’ve all spent too much time and energy over who owns the customer.
“The truth is, traveler need is a question of use cases. We’re rearchitecting the technology platform to make it available to all partners so the whole market and [each business] can utilize capabilities.”
As the platform matures, it will become a place where developers, data scientists, marketers and entrepreneurs can create new ways to encourage and enable people to travel.
“As Open World evolves, the benefits compound, and the universe of travel expands,” Murthy says.
* The reporter's attendance at the event was supported by Expedia Group.