Expedia targets growth in hotels for 2010

Expedia’s strategy for Europe in 2010 will be about improving how it gets its inventory to market and driving demand for hotels.

Speaking to Wall Street analysts, Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive said: “2009 was good for getting the company infrastructure right and growing inventory.

“2010 it’s time to start executing better on the improved inventory,” adding that demand “would be pushed from multiple channels, SEO, SEM and brand channels.”

During last year he said Expedia added 9000 merchant hotels in Europe, and that he wanted a similar number added during 2010.

“In Spain our penetration relative to the market is a bit low, while eastern Europe still represents a growth opportunity for us.”

Khosrowshahi also said that Expedia’s new brand positioning, logo and tagline ‘Where You Book Matters’ would be rolled out internationally. It has already been introduced to some Scandinavian markets.

Khosrowshahi was talking shortly after Travelport announced that it was canning its proposed IPO.

He was asked about Expedia’s relationship with the GDSs. “They are good partners and for the foreseeable future we will keep working with them,” he said. “We are good at hotel connectivity but not that good at air, which we don’t see as a core function.”

Expedia currently works with Sabre, Anadeus and Travelport “so we are not dependant on any one player,” he said.

Khosrowshahi was also asked about whether there were any plans to take TripAdvisor public. “We’re opportunitstic,” he admitted, “but we would only consider taking TripAdvisor public if it was suffering as a result of being part of Expedia. At the moment, it isn’t.”

One of TripAdviusors key roles within Epxedia Inc is that its advertising-based model provided a natural hedge against overall marketing costs.

He revealed that “the revenue we receive from TripAdvisor is more than 50% of our CPM/CPC marketing costs”.

 “The opportunity at TripAdvisor is as great as it ever has been,” he added.

During the fourth quarter, international advertising and media revenues grew more quickly than domestic.

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