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Expedia has launched a new crowdsourced deals feature on its US site.

Last-Minute Deals automatically identifies the best deals found by other travellers for hotels rooms and flights. It is done anonymously in the background so doesn’t require any additional action by Expedia customers.

In a press release announcing the new feature, Expedia said it “relies on user-generated deals and user-informed travel trends to lift up and showcase the best near-term travel deals”.

The service picks the top six deals based on your location, with the options filtered into three categories: tonight, this weekend or next weekend.

For London travellers Myrtle Beach is the top option with a room costing just $34.

Last-Minute Deals brings a quasi-social element to Expedia, but, as customers are not consciously recommending the deal, it is not truly a social search function.

Expedia says it differs from other flash sales programmes as the selections are not driven by a sales team or suppliers, but found by other customers. Vice president Joe Megibow said: “In a sense, the millions of people who come to Expedia are now serving as your own personal travel agent.”

The travel site has added several new features in recent months, including Groupon Getaways which offers flash sales using Expedia’s network of travel suppliers. Travel is an area that can benefit from the huge growth in social media, as people enjoy sharing their holiday photos and experiences.

If Expedia can find a way of incorporating Last-Minute Deals into Facebook, possibly using the new timeline apps, then the new function could help grow the brand’s presence through social media.

David Moth

Published 20 January, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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