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The flagship brand of Expedia has recently not seen as rapid growth in the UK and Europe as some of its largest rivals, such as Booking.com, have. But the company plans to be more assertive and innovative in its marketing spend to close the gap in nights booked on Expedia.co.uk and its sister brands.
“For brand Expedia, it’s incredibly important that we figure out some innovative way to getting ahead of competitors, whether it’s via TV brand advertising, or programmatic advertising, or another channel — or a mix of channels,” said Gary Morrison, senior vice president and global head of retail at Expedia.
Morrison offered an explanation for Expedia’s lagging pace in marketing in Europe while he was interviewed today in London at the first Skift Forum Europe. Last year, he said, the parent company has had to focus on digesting its recent acquisitions of Orbitz, Travelocity, and Wotif.
The merger process required a lot of resources, which will now be freed up as the integrations and technology stack migrations are completed this year.
Already there are signs of a quickened pace in marketing and demand generation. Expedia is now spending four times as much as Priceline on Trivago’s advertising auctions to appeal to customers in that marketplace, compared with a year earlier, when Priceline was outspending Expedia on the channel – a fact pointed out by executive editor Dennis Schaal during the interview.
Morrison said Trivago is one of the fastest growing parts of the Expedia Inc. portfolio as well as a key demand channel. (Trivago, which listed on the public markets this winter, is still part-owned by the global conglomerate.)
Has Expedia learned anything from Trivago’s success in Europe? “There have been a lot fewer lessons applied than you might think,” admitted Morrison. But he hints that the public will soon see some of those tactics openly adopted.