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When it comes to mergers and acquisitions activity in corporate travel, Expedia Inc.’s Egencia business is looking for increased volumes and scale in markets where it is already operating — and it is less interested in broadening its footprint geographically.
The Expedia subsidiary also scoffs at the notion of buying new technology.
That’s the perspective of Egencia President Rob Greyber, whose wish list for mergers and acquisitions in corporate travel meshes nicely with Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom’s newly articulated strategy for the parent company. Okerstrom said the company’s “land grab” for new geographies is nearly completed, and instead he wants Expedia to expand by digging deeper roots into existing locations where it operates.
Greyber and Okerstrom spoke separately Wednesday at the Expedia Partner Conference in Las Vegas.
Asked during a media question and answer session whether Egencia has any big holes in its global footprint, Greyber said there weren’t many. Egencia, which now is the fourth largest travel management company, having passed Hogg Robinson Group, already operates in 65 countries and has 3,400 employees. It did $6.7 billion in gross travel booking for the last four quarters.
Greyber said Egencia is growing faster than other players, is the third-largest travel management company in France, and is big in the UK, Germany, and the United States. The company is growing rapidly in Asia, including India and China, he said.
In January, Singapore-based Mieke De Schepper will become Egencia senior vice president and chief commercial officer, adding a more global perspective to Egencia’s strategy, Greyber said. De Schepper is currently Expedia Inc.’s vice president of market management for Lodging Partner Services.
Egencia switched up its corporate structure last year to move away from geographic segmentation and provide similar tools to all markets.
Greyber said Egencia is focused on scaling up its mostly home-grown technology platform, and views that as a differentiator. He argued that the corporate travel industry has failed to keep up with advances in leisure online travel because most travel management companies made the strategic mistake years ago to become systems evaluators and integrators rather than building their own platforms.
Egencia conducts internal review meetings in 30- and 120-day cycles to assess the progress of 15 technology projects it might be working on at any given time, Greyber said, adding that accelerating digital innovation is a priority.
Said Greyber: “That’s a profoundly different way of operating.”