Skift Take

Expedia Inc. seems ready to further develop existing brands like HomeAway in 2018. An opportunistic acquisition or two might also take place, but CEO Okerstrom says he's focusing on organic growth from companies already in Expedia's portfolio.

New Expedia Inc. CEO Mark Okerstrom faces a few challenges even bigger than filling the shoes of predecessor Dara Khosrowshahi, who left for Uber a couple of months ago. Outgrowing a rival like the Priceline Group, which today seems almost impossible, and dealing with competitors like Airbnb, remain daunting tasks.

Then there are periodic wrinkles such as the fact that Expedia’s stock price fell 16 percent to $123.79 on Friday after the company released its third quarter earnings the day before.

As Expedia figures out its path in 2018, one thing is for sure: expect HomeAway to become more integral to the company’s suite of consumer-facing brands. That’s the plan, although HomeAway is falling short of 2018 projections.

“HomeAway is a jewel of an asset,” said Okerstrom at the Skift Global Forum in New York City last month. “That whole space of alternative accommodations is so large and growing so quickly there’s so much traveler interest in it.”

Okerstrom addressed the evolution of blockchain and the potential for its applicability in travel distribution, saying it would have to be cheaper and better than current technologies  to gain traction.

He said he doesn’t view blockchain as a competitive threat at the moment. However, “I’m paranoid about everything,” Okerstrom quipped.

Okerstrom said it’s possible that blockchain could be a factor in the future, but it’s way too early to tell.

In the video, Okerstrom also weighs in on the battle between online booking sites and direct channels for hotels.

His message: Everyone should, and will, coexist.

Okerstrom also is showing that he’s big about re-prioritizing thing, and he said at the Forum that tours and activities may move higher on Expedia’s to-do list.

Watch the entire interview above. Or consider reading more coverage of the Skift Global Forum.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this, as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.


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Tags: expedia, sgf2017, skift global forum, video

Photo credit: Expedia Inc. CEO Mark Okerstrom made his first public appearance at a conference as CEO at the Skift Global Forum in New York City September 27, 2017. Skift

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