The Scan: Expedia opens a huge R&D center in India, WolframAlpha analyzes your Facebook account, and more
Expedia is hiring for its newest and largest R&D center in Asia, WolframAlpha makes it easy to get all sorts of data on your Facebook activity, and more items in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion on 31 August.
Expedia sets up R&D center in India
Expedia has hired 100 – and will hire 200 more – for its new research and development center in Gurgaon, a town southwest of Delhi. The center will overtake in size Expedia’s similar ones in Singapore and Beijing.
Fun fact: India’s top ten leading chains manage more than 770,000 rooms as of 2011, with plans for another 1 million rooms to be added in the next 3-4 years.
Search engine WolframAlpha launches Facebook Reports
People who sign up to use the free search engine can have it analyze your Facebook usage in detailed graphs. The Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook reveal in full just how much data, such as check-ins, locations where photos were taken, and locations and ages of your friends, is publicly available.
See sample reports in this blog post. You can also usually get the personal analytics report for a Facebook friend if he or she hasn’t set their security settings right, which they probably haven’t.
Update on the trend in hotel rates worldwide
HRS, a portal for booking more than 250,000 hotels, has analyzed price trends worldwide in the second quarter. Tokyo’s rates have recovered, New York City’s rates remain the world’s priciest, and Seoul saw a year-over-year rise of 44% to €145.54 a room a night due to its booming economy.
ComScore, releases a study of smartphone travel behavior in the US
A comScore Mobile Metrix 2.0 survey projects that nearly 40 million consumers accessed travel sites or apps from smartphones in July 2012, meaning 37% of all smartphone users. TripAdvisor drew 6.7 million visitors, followed by Expedia (6 million) and Southwest Airlines (4.1 million).
Random fact: Travelocity and Orbitz users via smartphone were disproportionately women.
City Nites picks Infor for its hotel management system
Infor, a business application software company, has sold a contract to use its cloud-based, hotel management application that’s compatible with iPad to serviced apartment company City Nites.
The Infor program lets staff greet guests and check them in on location at the property thanks to an iPad app. City Nites rents out 93 short-term stay apartments in London and Birmingham, and plans to double in size over the next year.
Brand Karma launches easy-to-understand reports on tourism activity at major destinations
Circos Brand Karma, a big data analyzer for the hospitality industry, debuts Blackbook reports, downloadable digests on the social media of any hotel or destination, from $99 per city. The reports can help hotel execs, property developers, travel agents, and tourism boards see the latest stats on any hotel or city.
For any destination, find out the top 20 hotels ranked by their social media presence, “share-of-voice”, and overall satisfaction in online reviews. The company says it will have reports on individual hotels in more than 100 cities available before the end of the year.
A report on app usage by travelers
Trivago, a booking site in multiple markets, has surveyed its users report they access apps. In the UK, “80% of Internet bookings done on a computer, versus 13% via apps.”
NB: Image courtesy of Expedia India.
Sean O’Neill is a New Jersey-based reporter for Tnooz. He is also a daily contributor of consumer news to LonelyPlanet.com.
He used to work for BBC Travel, BudgetTravel.com, and Kiplinger's, and used to live in London, New York City, and Washington, DC.