When Expedia Inc. officials look at where the growth opportunities are they clearly see corporate travel as ripe for some hyper growth.
Expedia Inc. believes it is already taking market share in corporate travel and it intends to grab some more through acquisitions.
“We definitely want to get bigger in the corporate travel segment, and we’re doing so organically with Egencia,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said last week during Expedia’s first quarter of 2015 earnings call. “But we will continue to look for acquisitions in that segment. We think it’s a terrific segment, and we have a great team and a great technology.”
Founded in 2002 as Expedia Corporate Travel and renamed Egencia, the full-service travel agency is the globe’s fifth largest travel management company, according to Expedia, behind the likes of American Express Global Business Travel, Carlson Wagonlit, BCD Travel and HRG North America. Through partnerships, Egencia has a presence in 65 countries, with particular strength in the U.S. and Europe.
While it offers offline services to handle complex itineraries and even VIP service for a corporation’s bigwigs, Expedia believes it can take share by pushing corporate travel services away from the call center model toward online and mobile platforms.
Egencia’s gross bookings in the first quarter of 2015 increased 4 percent year over year to $1.36 billion while its EBITDA climbed 19 percent to $20 million. There is plenty of room for Egencia to grow as even Expedia’s Trivago metasearch business is currently larger than Egencia revenue-wise.
Expedia’s has seen Egencia grow organically and through acquisitions in recent years. Expedia acquired VIA Travel in the Nordics in 2012, and a year earlier picked up Travelforce and Traveldoo. Expedia could be seeking to expand Egencia’s geographic footprint by acquiring travel management companies, including perhaps a partner or two.
Expedia’s statements about its keen interest in growing Egencia comes as Booking.com has quietly entered corporate travel for unmanaged business travelers with Booking.com For Business.
While Egencia offers a full-service program for businesses of diverse sizes, Booking.com For Business is a hotel-only program and is geared for businesses without managed travel programs.
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Photo credit: Expedia thinks there is an opportunity in moving business travel more toward online and mobile tools. Pictured is an image from Egencia's iPad app. Egencia