Expedia Tries Out New Last-Minute Deals Site Relying on User-Generated Data

Expedia has launched a new service today called Last-Minute Deals that lets customers share the best deals with each other.

But it doesn’t use Facebook or any identifying information. Instead, Expedia surfaces the best deals found by other travelers, anonymously, for flights and hotel rooms, based on your location.

The site will list the best deals for three time periods: tonight, this weekend or next weekend. Customers can search for hotels or flights based on a couple dozen destinations.

For example, this weekend, nights at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers cost $113 and the cheapest flight out of Los Angeles tonight is to Seattle for $252 roundtrip.

The process is similar to other flash sales sites that sell apparel or other items at a discount based on inventory. Many other flash sales sites focus on travel, too, such as Gilt Groupe’s Jetsetter. However, there’s one big difference with this service. The deals are being found by other customers searching the site. The service is not being driven by a special sales relationship between Expedia and the suppliers.

That probably means the deals are not unique to Expedia and can be found on other travel aggregation sites, but at the same time, Expedia didn’t have to hire a sales team or build out a lot of infrastructure to support the feature.

“In a sense, the millions of people who come to Expedia are now serving as your own personal travel agent, helping you find the best and most popular deals from your home city,” said Joe Megibow, VP and GM of Expedia, in a statement.

The Web site is very simple to navigate and takes out a lot of the headaches of searching millions of listings. That also means that the selection is limited to around six results for each time period — in other words, not a ton of destinations or hotels to pick from. Cancun was offering six hotel rooms — some for as low as $40 a night — for this weekend. Orlando also listed six hotel rooms, all under $100 a night.

This is not Expedia’s first experiment in the deals space.

Last summer, it launched a partnership with Groupon that sells vouchers for vacations around the world. It said it successfully sold 15,000 travel deals in the first three days of launching that partnership, but wasn’t entirely satisfied with the model yet. It also launched a program called ASAP (A Sudden Amazing Price), which lists deals at 9 am PT and is bookable for 12 hours only.

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