Two and a half years after a major reorganisation to streamline the company by business units instead of geography, Expedia is hiring country managers once again.
A string of new managing directors will be appointed across Europe, beginning with ex-Lastminute.com sales boss Andy Washington taking the reins in the UK.
It is not clear as yet how many country bosses will be appointed across the continent, but the company is active if over ten markets across Europe including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, and more recently in Scandinavia.
Each of the new country MDs will report into Expedia EMEA VP Gary Morrison.
Creating dedicated teams, focussed on each of the diversified markets of Europe, will ensure Expedia is better placed to address specific needs of consumers in each country, Expedia says.
Despite the focus on individual markets, each country MD will still be based in London, a decision Morrison explains: "A shared London location will enable the organisation to achieve local focus whilst retaining the agility of a central European team."
Expedia Inc made a fairly large play of a major reorganisation of the business in November 2008 when previous Europe president Dermot Halpin left the company.
At the time, CEO and president Dara Khosrowshahi said the decision was made to align the company around business units and technology, rather than geographic markets.
The company was streamlined into three areas: Expedia Worldwide (previously Eric Grosse, then Scott Durchslag), Hotels.com (led by David Roche) and Expedia Worldwide Distribution (Henrik Kjellberg).
Until now there have been no specific country managers for Expedia, although ex-Googler Morrison has headed Europe and Dan Lynn in Asia-Pacific since February 2011 and November 2009 respectively.
Washington joins directly from Thomas Cook (curiously, with no period of garden leave) where he spent less than a year working on its widely talked about European online travel agency.
He left Lastminute.com in June 2010.
"The European online travel market continues to grow. The value of all European online travel bookings is forecast to overtake the USA this year. Expedia has been growing rapidly in Europe over the last two years, opening new sites in Scandinavian markets, launching mobile services and expanding the range of products available in existing territories."
The shift in strategy comes at an interesting juncture in the European OTA space, not least with the efforts from Thomas Cook.
With Amadeus (finally) offloadingOpodo as part of a deal for two VCs to form a joint venture with Go Voyages and eDream, and TravelRepublic launching in Spain, Expedia is perhaps taking the country responsibility element of running a mega-OTA seriously once more.
An official says:
"The aim is to maintain a nimble and efficient business process, whilst ensuring we continue to maintain a strong focus on the differing needs of our customers in each sub-region of EMEA as we grow the business in Europe."