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After you beat ’em, acquire ’em.
That might be Expedia Inc.’s mantra as it went on a buying spree and the once-Big Four U.S.-headquartered online travel agencies became the Big Two — Expedia Inc. and the Priceline Group.
Expedia acquired Travelocity North America in January 2015, added Orbitz Worldwide in September and piled on in November with a deal to acquire vacation rental giant HomeAway. The rollup formula is working — for now. Expedia Inc. saw its hotel room nights sold leapfrog 36 percent year over year in the third quarter with acquisitions accounting for 8 percentage points of the jump.
The big question for Expedia and its competitors is whether this sort of strategy is sustainable and whether Expedia will trip up over the complexity of its purchases. And what will Expedia do for an encore?
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