Is Expedia’s ‘getting bigger’ strategy working?

Expedia has been on what feels like a buying spree as of late. Has this strategy of ‘getting bigger’ been working for them? Gary Morrison, Senior Vice President and Head of Retail, Expedia Worldwide took to the stage at Phocuswright Europe in Dublin to share some insights. Here’s what we learned…

Benefits of scale

phocuswright europe
Gary Morrison, Senior Vice President and Head of Retail, Expedia

During his time on stage, Gary stated that Expedia were finding many benefits to the ever-increasing size of their portfolio. These included:

1.       More traffic – more sites and more customer databases means more traffic

2.       More Tests – the more traffic you have, the more tests you can do

3.       Better experiences – the more tests you do, the more you can improve the customer experience

Standing out from the crowd

Sounds great, but, in a space where competition is fierce due to more and more OTA’s come on the scene,  how do Expedia compete for people’s attention? Gary discussed this in detail and mentioned four key principles that Expedia use to grab a would-be customers eye.

1.       Prioritise real time info – customers expect this nowExpedia-suitcase

2.       Deliver an engaging, playful experience – don’t make it a difficult process

3.       Information in exchange for improved content – if a customer provides you with their email address and their location, then you should provide them with offers relevant to their airport of departure

4.       Cross platform availability  – Expedia  recently noticed that their tablet bookings spiked when their TV advert was shown. This told them that people are browsing their tablet while watching TV.


As with all plans and principles, Gary reiterated that it was important to have some sort of organisational strategies in place to build said principles. Along with these principles, Expedia also embrace a number of behaviours and approaches which Gary says are part of what make Expedia successful.

1.       It’s not just about products. Test and learn across the business

2.       Test any idea. Regardless of origin (suppliers, customers, your staff)

3.       Get a little bit better, every day. Have transparent, open feedback

Following this interesting presentation, Alan Clarke, CEO, Homestay and Frank Reeves, Founder and CEO, Avvio Inc. joined Gary on stage for question and answer time.

Gary Morrisson, Alan Clarke and Frank Reeves on stage

When asked if hotels only get low customer lifetime value from Expedia, Gary said that Expedia are able to bring a unique customer experience to their partners more profitably than their partners would be able to do it themselves. He also said that he believes loyalty to a hotel comes more from the experience that a customer has at that hotel, than the booking experience that they go through.

So, is Expedia’s strategy of ‘getting bigger’ working for them? From listening to Gary Morrisson at Phocuswright Europe it would certainly seem so. What are your thoughts? Tweet us @TravelMedia_ie and let us know!