Expedia’s CEO talks about Google, HomeAway, Ryanair, and the Chinese market
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi held a conference call with investors. Here are the highlights of what he said that are relevant to the travel technology trade.
“We do see Google making some moves in the area [of facilitated bookings].
I’d say one thing that we see that’s different with the Google treatment of hotel bookings [compared to TripAdvisor’s instant booking product] is that the Google treatment tends to be much more clear that the booking is actually with the OTA and that Google is not the merchant, etc., it’s really just making the payment process easier rather than trying to own the customer.
So we do anticipate testing out with Google and testing out some of the other treatments and seeing how it affects our customers and customer satisfaction and our economics in general.”
Vacation rentals continues to be a category that Expedia Inc brands flirt with. The company is expanding its partnership with HomeAway, the world’s largest platform for vacation rentals, from just the US to also include “certain European markets”.
Speaking more broadly about vacation rentals as a product category, Khosrowshahi said:
“I don’t think we’ve hit on a magic bullet at this point. We don’t see the additional [vacation rental] inventory materially increasing our revenue per shopper.
But we think the customer experience at this point isn’t what it needs to be. And we think we can materially improve the customer experience and we’re hoping that will add to our customer satisfaction.”
Khosrowshahi said he saw Ryanair’s effort to lead airlines out of online travel agency channels as an outlier. Expedia Inc’s relationships with its air supply partners have been getting stronger, not the other way around, he said.
“We haven’t seen any effect from Ryanair. They’re a very strong company that tends to be vocal, but I don’t think they’re necessarily representative of the industry worldwide.
We have very strong long-term contracts with our air supply partners….
We are moving from being a commodity provider of low-price and schedule information to becoming a value-added player when it comes to selling air….
We are adding features such as branded fares,… which help assists the airlines in the sale of ancillary products, such as a choose-your-seat service [for a fee].”
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