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Expedia Group Inc   (EXPE)
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Expedia Group Inc

Business Description


Expedia, Inc. is an online travel company, empowering business and leisure travelers with the tools and information they need to efficiently research, plan, book and experience travel. We have created a global travel marketplace used by a broad range of leisure and corporate travelers and offline retail travel agents as well as travel service providers. We make available, on a stand-alone and package basis, travel products and services provided by numerous airlines, lodging properties, car rental companies, destination service providers, cruise lines and other travel product and service companies.

Our portfolio of brands, which is described below, includes: Expedia.com®, Hotels.com®, Hotwire.comtm, Worldwide Travel Exchange (“WWTE”) and Interactive Affiliate Network (“IAN”), Classic Vacations, Expedia® Corporate Travel (“ECT”), eLongtm and TripAdvisor®. In addition, many of these brands have related international points of sale.

Expedia, Inc. is building the world’s largest and most intelligent travel marketplace. We play a fundamental role in facilitating travel, whether for leisure or business. We are committed to providing our travelers with the best set of resources to serve their travel needs by taking advantage of our critical assets — our brand portfolio, our technologies and continuous innovation, our global reach, and our breadth of product offering. In doing so, we take advantage of our growing base of knowledge about our destinations, suppliers and travelers based on our unique position in the travel value chain.


Portfolio of Travel Brands. We seek to appeal to the broadest possible range of travelers and suppliers through our collection of industry-leading brands. We target several different demographics, from the value-conscious traveler through our Hotwire brand to luxury travelers seeking a high-touch, customized vacation package through our Classic Vacations brand. We believe our flagship Expedia brand appeals to the broadest range of travelers, with our extensive product offering and facilitation of single item bookings of discounted product to complex bundling of higher-end travel packages. Our Hotels.com site and its international versions target travelers with premium content about lodging properties, and generally appeal to travelers with shorter booking windows who prefer to drive to their destinations.

ECT currently conducts operations in the United States, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. We believe the corporate travel sector represents a large opportunity for Expedia, and we believe we offer a compelling technology solution to small and medium-sized businesses seeking to control travel costs and improve their employees’ travel experiences. We also believe that expanding our corporate travel business also increases our appeal to travel product and service suppliers, as the average corporate traveler has a higher incidence of first class and international travel than the average leisure traveler. We intend to continue investing in and expanding the geographic footprint of our ECT business.

In expanding our global reach, we are leveraging our significant investment in technology, operations, brand building, supplier integration and relationships and other areas since the launch of Expedia.com in 1996.

We intend to continue leveraging this investment when launching new countries, introducing website features, adding supplier products and services or adding value-added content for travelers. As a result, we have been able to launch several websites — including Expedia-branded sites in Japan, Denmark, Norway and Sweden — relatively quickly and cost effectively.

Our scale of operations also enhances the value of technology innovations we introduce on behalf of our travelers and suppliers. As an example, our traveler review feature — whereby Expedia travelers have created over 300,000 qualified reviews of hotel properties — is able to accumulate a larger base of reviews due to the higher base of online traffic that frequents our various websites.

Breadth of Product Offering. In general, through our websites, we believe we offer a comprehensive array of innovative travel products and services to travelers. We plan to continue improving and growing these offerings, as well as expand them to our worldwide points of sale over time.

The majority of our revenue comes from transactions involving the sale of airline tickets and the booking of hotel reservations, either as stand-alone products or as part of package transactions. We are working to grow our package business as it results in higher revenue per transaction, and we also seek to continue diversifying our revenue mix beyond core air and hotel products to car rental, destination services, cruise and other product offerings, as well as by increasing the mix of revenue from advertising we derive from our travel partners and suppliers.

Merchant and Agency Business Models

We make travel products and services available both on a stand-alone and package basis, primarily through two business models: the merchant model and the agency model. Under the merchant model, we facilitate the booking of hotel rooms, airline seats, car rentals and destination services from our travel suppliers and for such bookings, we are the merchant of record. Under the agency model, we act as an agent in the transaction, passing reservations booked by our travelers to the relevant airline, hotel, car rental company or cruise line.

As merchant of record, we generally have certain latitude to establish prices charged to travelers (as compared to agency transactions). Also, we negotiate inventory allocation and pricing with our suppliers which enables us to achieve a higher level of net revenue per transaction as compared to those provided through the agency model.

Through our Expedia-branded websites, travelers can dynamically assemble multiple component travel packages in a single transaction at a lower price as compared to booking each component separately. Packages assembled by travelers through the packaging model on these websites include a merchant hotel component and an air or car component. Travelers select packages based on the total package price, without being provided component pricing. The use of the merchant travel components in packages enables us to make certain travel products available at prices lower than those charged on an individual component basis by travel suppliers without impacting their established pricing and position models. We are also expanding our use of third-party provided pre-assembled package offerings, particularly through our international points of sale, further broadening our scope of products and services to travelers.

Our agency business is comprised of the sale of airline tickets, hotel, cruise and car rental reservations. Airline ticket transactions make up the majority of this business.

Overview. We make travel products and services available from a variety of large and small commercial and charter airlines, lodging properties, car rental companies, cruise lines and destination service providers. We seek to build and maintain long-term, strategic relationships with travel suppliers and global distribution system (“GDS”) partners. An important component of the success of our business depends on our ability to maintain our existing, as well as build new, relationships with travel suppliers and GDS partners.

Travel Suppliers. We strive to deliver value to our travel suppliers through a wide range of innovative, targeted merchandising and promotional strategies designed to increase their revenue, while simultaneously reducing their marketing transaction and customer service costs. Our Partner Services Group consists mainly of strategic account managers and local market managers who work directly with travel suppliers to increase the marketing of their travel products and brands through our points of sale.

Competition

Our brands compete in rapidly evolving and intensely competitive markets. We believe the relatively low percentage of total travel sales transacted online in the global travel industry indicates that these markets represent especially large opportunities for Expedia and those of its competitors that wish to expand their brands and businesses abroad.

Our competition, which is strong and increasing, includes online and offline travel companies that target leisure and corporate travelers including travel agencies, tour operators, travel supplier direct websites and their call centers, consolidators and wholesalers of travel products and services and other companies offering travel search engines including meta-search engines. We face these competitors in local, regional, national and/or international markets.

We believe that maintaining and enhancing our brands is a critical component of our effort to compete. We differentiate our brands from our competitors primarily based on quality and breadth of travel products, channel features and usability, price, traveler service and quality of travel planning content and advice. The emphasis on one or more of these factors varies, depending on the brand or business and the related target demographic.

Our brands face increasing competition from travel supplier direct websites. In some cases, supplier direct channels offer advantages to travelers, such as loyalty programs or lower transaction fees. Our websites feature travel products and services from numerous travel suppliers (as opposed to a single supplier), and allow travelers to combine products and services from multiple providers in one transaction. We face competition from airlines, hotels, rental car companies, cruise operators and other travel service providers, whether working individually or collectively, some of which are suppliers to our websites. Our business is generally sensitive to changes in the competitive landscape, including the emergence of new competitors.




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