Thursday, November 20, 2008

Expedia at PhoCusWright - quotes, facts, figures and mattress stuffing

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has just stepped off the centre stage at PhoCusWright. Here are the highlights of his presentation and Q&A session

On Global Expansion
  • 19 Expedia branded sites worldwide. Currently two thirds of revenue is in the US, one third international. Want this to be fifty:fifty in five years;
  • Need to do a lot of transation. Plan to translate 500 million words in 2009; and
  • 10% of revenue is Advertising based. Is growing faster than merchant/retailer business but do not expect it to take over from merchant/retailer business as the main reevenue source for the company.
On merchandising and market managing
  • Launched Expedia Travel Ad - a way to hotels to bid for sort order placement (think Google ad words). Note as per earlier post have been doing this in Germany for a while; and
  • Have 400 Market Managers (hotel) world-wide that are working to get hotels to recognise that deals are needed but saw potential for those deals to come from the Travel Ad bidding, additional loyalty points, add ons etc to maintain price.
On acquisition, capital and the market
  • On Acquistions: When asked directly about who he would buy next Dara said - "we are going to keep our money stuffed in our mattress". Later "we don't think we will go on the acquisition trail in 2009". He went on to explain that with the state of the capital markets and the difficulties in access public capital sources (including debt) he wanted to keep his cash on hand to get through the next five years; and
  • On Going Private: Simply - there is no capital available for anyone to take Expedia private.
On integration and the merchant/retail model mix
  • Will keep the demand portions un-integrated (ie Venere brand remains). But supply side will be integrated. In other words will see Venere inventory (negotiated retail inventory) on and in a mixed model.
Anyone else get anything else from the presentation.


Anonymous said...

500 million words to be translated requires a lot of investment - I figured USD90mil tops if outsourced completely via human translations and CAT methods. Expedia expects a corresponding amount of return or do they throw up these figures to impress?

Tim Hughes said...

Cheap end in house is 5 cents a word. Agencies 18-20cents a word. That is an investment of $25mm to $90/100mm

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see the merged display of inventory (merchant model) and Venere (commissionable model). I trust this would be a difficult task to make it clear to the consumer that you have to prepay for certains hotels (merchant) and for others, payment is made at the checkout (commissionable). Let's wait and see...

Professor Sabena said...

I am beginning to see a move by several players to create new web "real estate". This is what TravelBeen (from Monday) is about and I see Expedia and others trying to create some new real estate to compete with or divert revenue from the 9000 kilo player being Google. Will be interesting to see if this concept becomes practical. If Expedia does this with its TravelAd bidding process on its own real estate that's fine for them. Frankly Expedia needs all the revenue help it can get. But what about others. Will we all be constrained in a Google owned Web Real Estate world or will new Real Estate emerge?

The Professor

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