Thursday, November 30, 2006

Expedia turns on Japan

Completely crushing my hopes of having an acquisition to talk about - Expedia have launched an organically developed Japanese site - Japan is arguably the hardest market in the world to sell air online as no-one has cracked a way to show a consolidated display from the two GDS's - Axcess and Infini. Expedia either haven't cracked it either or are still working on it so have launched with hotels only.

On the hotel side there have been two issues that have been hard for non-Japanese players to solve for a launch. Firstly that Rakuten Travel (Mytrip) charge hotels a low as 6.5% commission setting an expectation for the hotels on pricing for domestic demand and secondly how to load, sell and fulfil the traditional Ryokan inventory. Not sure if Expedia have solved these but congratulations are due in putting the site into double byte Kanji and in setting up a local fulfilment system.

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