The online travel giant is investing in VR, voice commands, and chat bots.

By Leena Rao
April 10, 2017

Travel booking giant Expedia may be offering a new, more immersive way to book hotel rooms.

According to technology news site Mashable, the company is working on letting people view prospective hotel rooms using virtual reality as more consumers warm up to VR headsets.

Expedia EXPE —which operates several travel booking brands including Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Egencia, and Venere.com—showcased a way for users to use virtual reality to walk into a hotel room and check out amenities and features, including a room’s view and balcony.

But the company’s CEO has said in the past that VR can’t be a substitute for travel all together.

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“I hope that VR in travel fails miserably because I want people to go places,” Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at a 2016 Geekwire technology conference. “I think that VR can certainly play a part in your research in travel and your being inspired to go to amazing places on earth.”

The company recently brought on veteran movie maker Scott Rudin as a board member.

VR isn’t the only technology that Expedia is interested in adopting. The company, which invested more than $1 billion in its technology in 2016, is also looking at incorporating voice into the booking experience, including smart voice-enabled devices such as Amazon’s AMZN Echo. The company is also looking at incorporating chat bots—small artificial intelligence software programs—that will interact with its users.

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