Four Key Differences Between “Online Travel” and “Online Shopping” E-commerce

How Expedia Group scales for 1.26 quadrillion different travel product variations

Photo by Mesut Kaya on Unsplash

What is e-commerce?

With traditional online shopping e-commerce, the buyer is actually purchasing an item to be delivered or shipped to them, or picked up in-store. With online travel e-commerce, the traveler is actually reserving a travel product or service for a set period of time.

1. Inventory

Reservable hotel product variations = 3.2 million properties x 4 avg room types x 6 avg rate plans x 1,100 avg rates x 500 check-in dates x 30 length of stays = 1,267,200,000,000,000 unique hotel products. (1.26 quadrillion)

2. Pricing

Approximately 1,200 hotel search requests per second result in approximately 80k to 105k pricing requests per second.

3. Search

Every flight search processes a matrix of 50 x 50 (2,500) different routes and schedules to get from origin A to destination B.

4. Fulfillment

In a way, travel fulfillment is simpler than online shopping fulfillment, as they don’t have to deal with returns. Until they have to manage schedule changes and cancellations that might result in either refunds or credits.

Final thoughts



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John James

Engineering leader @Expedia Group. Solving customer problems with technology. Opinions are my own.