The Expedia Group is a sprawling empire of a business, with online travel agencies, corporate travel agencies and investments in metasearch.
Its interests are not confined to the western hemisphere, with attempts over the years to crack China (through eLong), South East Asia (via a since disbanded partnership with AirAsia) and more recently with its backing of Traveloka in Indonesia.
Like most large organizations it's hedging its bets at the same time as attempting to continue growth in the core business (Expedia being the mothership brand).
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Yet perhaps it stands, like others, in a vulnerable position having achieved such a size over the last two-plus decades.
Phocuswright Europe's theme for the 2019 conference was Empires On Edge, arguing that large corporations are "prone to the perils of even bigger creatures or innovative upstarts."
Cyril Ranque, Expedia Group's president for lodging partner services, joined the conference to explain how the company is striving to stay away from "edge."
He also talked more broadly about the role of platforms as the primary interfaces between consumers and choice of products, as well as where the weaknesses in giant online travel businesses might be.
Later joining Ranque onstage for a panel discussion were:
- Jan Valentin, CEO and founder at Ennea
- Terry Von Bibra, general manager for Europe at the Alibaba Group
Note the comments about the role (or not, in their opinion) of Amazon if it entered the ecosystem - a part of the discussion that came less than 24 hours before it emerged that the e-commerce giant had quietly launched a flight booking service on its India website.
Here is full video of the session in Amsterdam.
Executive Interview & Roundtable: Expedia and the Future of OTAs - Phocuswright Europe 2019