Itransition Helps Expedia Invigorate Partner Network

The world’s largest online travel company hires Itransition to revamp its global 10,000 private label-strong Affiliate Network to further maintain the market leading position and boost revenues generated by the EAN line of business.

  • Single scalable and robust platform with flexible branding capabilities
  • Consistent and contemporary user experience
  • Powerful localization capabilities with 33 languages support

Context

Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) is the world’s largest online travel company with an extensive brand portfolio that includes some of the well-known online travel brands. Collectively, Expedia covers virtually every aspect of researching, planning, and booking travel – from choosing the best airplane seat, to reading personal travel reviews of hotels, to planning what to do in a destination once you arrive.

Poised to Provide Better Service to Global Affiliate Network Members

Expedia powers bookings for many of the world's leading airlines and hotels, top consumer brands, high traffic websites, and more than 10,000 private label partners (affiliates) through Expedia® Affiliate Network (EAN) globally. However the templates of the EAN solution provided neither consistent user experience in terms of functionality and UI, nor a competitive advantage to new market entrants. Parallel to moving onto a unified platform in a SOA environment, Expedia teamed up with Itransition to revamp the EAN solution to redeem the leading position and boost revenues generated by the EAN line of business.

Addressing Broader Scope Challenges

The project was part of a larger complex program to revamp all main customer products. The program was executed by several teams across different continents and it required significant efforts for coordination. Moreover, these products in their turn should have been integrated with a wider information ecosystem (Global Distribution Systems’ property databases, other services, etc), many parts of which had problems with legacy code and interfaces. Therefore the project team had to overcome a number of interrelated challenges:

Complex decision making. Being an international corporation, the customer had a complicated, formalized process of approving requirements and technical solutions, including discussing those at the top management level.

Dependency on other distributed teams. The service provider team had to work simultaneously with a US-based technical team on the customer side responsible for improving existing services and creating API for new features. To coordinate the efforts we introduced joint planning and regular status tracking activities.

Troubles with legacy code. The US team faced serious troubles with legacy code and a complex, time-consuming process to change API for most cases, which delayed the delivery of some functionality to the Itransition team.

Change of the main technology. After several months of work, the customer asked to abandon Dojo as the main client JavaScript framework and to migrate to YUI 2.0.

Changing requirements and project scope. To tackle the problem of sudden twists in product requirements, the Itransition team designed a formal change management process integrated with the process of requirements supply to the development team.

Solution

Technologies Enabling Specific Business Functions

From the functional standpoint the application consists of 2 parts:

  • the customization panel (used by affiliates)
  • the front end part (used by consumers)

There were different requirements to those two UI parts therefore different UI technologies were chosen to implement them, but both used the same codebase for the back end services.

Tech Overview:

  • Flexible Affiliate customization tool (Control Panel) – for easy customization of the look and feel and application of Affiliate’s own design elements and brand guidelines to pages;
  • Assistance to affiliates on the interaction with Control Panel (on the fly assistance, tooltips, progress bars, breadcrumbs, step shortcuts, etc.);
  • Assistance to affiliates on usage of the tool (help, FAQ, tutorial, support);
  • Two separate virtual applications – to support both modern and legacy/non-JavaScript browsers;
  • Distributed non-transactional cache built on EHcache – to ensure sufficient scalability for handling continuously growing loads in a graceful manner;
  • CSS parametrization – to enable building a customized CSS for a specific theme easily even for a user with no skills with meta-languages;
  • GWT (Google Web Toolkit) used for the parts of the application that don’t require customization – it was used to develop the client part to noticeably reduce efforts for the implementation.

Results

Helping EAN Business Grow

“We have officially launched the GenIII templates under the marketing name of Chameleon,” said Tiffany Veder, Sr. Product Manager at EAN in December 2010. GenIII templates replaced existing outdated, merely customizable and inefficient EAN templates for searching and booking travel products.

The advantages of the new templates help grow the EAN business:

  • Single scalable and robust platform;
  • Flexible branding capabilities;
  • Consistent and contemporary user experience;
  • Best in class UX principles (separation of content from presentation, semantic code, interaction/ presentation/ content layers);
  • Adherence to the leading world’s standards (W3C XHTML 1.0, CSS2, CSS3);
  • Graded browser support and graceful degradation;
  • Design provides maximum accessibility;
  • Easily localizable templates available in more than 33 languages.

New High Performance Scalable Platform

Itransition accomplished a very impressive feat of creating and launching a completely new template into production in under a year! All of the feedback received from Expedia, including the company’s President and CEO, and also EAN affiliates were nothing but positive. The project was transferred to the maintenance and support phase, also provided by the Itransition team.

Key achievements:

  • Improved and simplified booking path for a range of travel products;
  • Improved page template loading times compared to the existing ones;
  • Improved design customization and discoverability of customization options by affiliates;
  • Provided affiliates with a greater degree of flexibility on design and layout, as well as functional customization;
  • Enabled Expedia to easily migrate existing affiliates onto the new template;
  • Boosted user experience of consumers;
  • Improved overall affiliates’ satisfaction with the EAN services;
  • Ensured high performance and scalability – a capacity to support over 10,000 affiliates

Screenshots

Highlights

  • Solutions

    Portals

  • Industries

    Travel & Hospitality

  • Technology

    Java

    HTML5

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