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Technology tools are rapidly helping business travelers to make smarter travel buying decisions by using booking sites to place reservations online without consulting a travel manager.
The focus for Expedia’s Egencia corporate travel arm is on leveraging its existing booking tools to provide flexibility to clients. The move to online corporate travel bookings has paid off for Egencia with 20 percent compound annual growth in gross bookings over the last five years.
Expedia executives listed Egencia as one of the core drivers of growth for the company moving forward on the company’s investors and analysts presentation earlier this week.
“Egencia is going after the corporate travel business in a very unique way; Egencia is essentially doing for corporate travel what Expedia did for leisure travel about 20 years ago,” said Expedia CFO Mark Okerstrom.
According to the presentation’s data slide (embedded below), Egencia is outpacing the growth of the big five corporate travel management companies. Okerstrom said that Egencia’s corporate travel clients are ready to move away from the antiquated and costly traditional booking process.
“These businesses go from doing travel on the phone, where the big players of yesteryear Carlson [Wagonlit Travel] and American Express [Global Business Travel] are charging $50 or $60 dollars for a phone call, to a place where travel arrangers are actually putting 80 to 90 percent of their transactions on the [Egencia] platform,” said Okerstrom.
The corporate travel business is a strategic focus for Expedia as a whole, as it is looking to expand its existing relationships with travel partners to improve its corporate offerings.
“This compares to single-digit to shrinking growth for most of their competitors,” said Okerstrom. “We think over long-term this can be a very big business just on it’s own, but its also very strategic to us. [Egencia’s hotel and air partners] are thrilled that we’re filling up their extra rooms and the back of the bus, but they’re even more thrilled to talk to us about filling up the first-class seats and the mid-week stays.”