Expedia Inc. will roll out several new features and enhancements on its sites this year, including a tool that will give users greater access to baggage fees, and another that will indicate the best time to book a given flight based on price increases or decreases over time.
The company said in a release the enhancements are "part of a broader investment to build a comprehensive comparison marketplace for flights."
Expedia plans to expand the number of fare options available by integrating new suppliers and partners into the Expedia+ global air technology platform, which runs air ticketing and packaging for its brands. This comes after Expedia announced partnerships with GDSs last year to support airlines' branded fare families. In June, Expedia rolled out the technology, called Upgrade Options.
Upgrade Options is available in the U.S. and Europe, currently offered on Travelocity and Hotwire, but a spokesperson said Expedia plans to expand it globally across all its brands.
Users can also expect to see greater access to pricing information on baggage fees for the majority of airlines available to book, after Expedia's recent partnership with ATPCO's Baggage Calculator. The calculator, which falls under the Upgrade Options banner, allows real-time access to baggage data.
Also through Upgrade Options, Expedia sites will integrate paid seating options that customers can purchase via the online seat map. According to the company, this will be launched in late 2015. Expedia is also working to relay frequent flier numbers to airlines so status-eligible seats will be displayed during the booking process.
Expedia is currently testing and integrating three other tools expected to be available to Expedia.com customers in the U.S. by the end of 2015: Price Trends, Price Predictions and Structured Delivery.
Trends will aggregate pricing data for a specific destination based on a user's recent searches. It then analyzes high, mid and low price points for the last 14 days so users can see how the current flight price compares to recent historical data.
Price Predictions will give users recommendations of the best time for them to book, based on how a given flight search's prices are expected to increase or decrease over time. Expedia also said it will give users recommendations about current fares available and predictions about when fares and options will sell out.
Structured Discovery will be an extension of Expedia's Scratchpad, which stores previous searches so users don't have to re-enter information. Through Structured Discovery, Expedia plans to offer alternate searches -- like nearby airports or different dates -- for previous searches.