Expedia: Playing catch-up against Priceline while digesting Wotif, TravelocityNews / DistributionBy Sean O'Neil | February 5, 2015Share This article was originally published on Expedia Inc was an early starter in the online travel business. Yet it's been looking enviously at rival Priceline Group'slarge and profitable acquisitions of Booking.com, Agoda, and Kayak.In the past couple of years, Expedia has been playing catch-up, accelerated by its July 2014 acquisition of Australian leader Wotif and its January 2015 acquisition of Travelocity. In late 2012, the marketing giant also acquired Trivago.The spate of acquisitions has helped Expedia's pace of growth, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on the company’s earnings call. But don't expect any big new additions right away. "We've got more than enough on our plate right now. We're very comfortable that the businesses we're in, the core OTA business, the corporate business, Wotif, Elong, and China all have very long runways ahead of them. We're focused dead ahead on the business at hand."Share this quote Expedia is still in the process of digesting Travelocity and Wotif. No marketing decisions or international expansion plans have yet been decided upon for these brands, said the CEO.Wotif's international searches have already been switched over to Expedia's platform, and recontracting with Wotif hotels is ongoing. Overall optimization will last through mid-2015.Other acquisitions?Investors asked about the possibility of a deepened relationship with HomeAway, the vacation rental giant.CFO Mark Okerstrom pointed out that Expedia's interest is in listings that are professionally managed and instantly online bookable -- two criteria that many HomeAway listings don't yet meet.Would Expedia Inc rather partner in vacation rentals rather than build inventory on its own? Khosrowshahi said: "It's too soon to tell. What we're working on right now is building up our core hotel inventory. We are testing the vacation rental type of inventory's appeal thanks to our recent HomeAway partnership.... But too soon to tell."Share this quote Tours-and-activities and other ancillaries are also of interest, said the CEO. "When a customer comes in to buy an Expedia air ticket, I think we're getting much better at up-selling a destination service like ground transport or a ticket to a theme park, etc. Our focus is on cross-selling our customers more stuff. Because those cross-sells are typically very high margins because we don't have to reacquire those through a third-party. Our attach-type growth is at record highs."Share this quote The company also wants to duplicate the success of the loyalty rewards program of Hotels.com across its other brands.In short, the tone of the earnings call was to manage the expectations of investors that no additional major acquisition was necessarily imminent.That said, Khosrowshahi points out that he's not short of the working capital needed to do future purchases. His businesses throw off a lot of free cash flow. "Acquisitions are a part of our game plan.... I would say our technology platforms now and our operating practices now [compared to when I took the helm as CEO] very good at bringing in and consolidating acquisitions and realizing synergies. We have our hands full with Wotif and Travelocity. But the travel market is enormous. It's a $1.3 trillion market. We're one of the biggest players out there with only $50 billion, less than 5%. We expect there will be further consolidation. The big global players in general will gain share. And we'll look for consolidation opportunities that give us a better return than buying back our own stock."Share this quote For a monied marketing giant like Expedia that booked about $50 billion last year, it is simply be easier to acquire growth than develop it in-house, even if the company is still behind Priceline's approximately $51 billion in billings globally.