Hotels.com, Egencia, Trivago, and HomeAway, among others, are all Expedia companies. The parent company wants Wall Street to understand that it is more than just the Expedia brand. The Priceline Group had long been associated with Priceline.com even though Booking.com is the company's largest brand. So there seemed to be more of a reason for Priceline's name switch than for Expedia's.
What’s good for Booking Holdings, formerly the Priceline Group, seems to be the ticket for Expedia, as well.
Expedia Inc. changed its name Monday to Expedia Group Inc. “to better reflect the global nature of our business, more clearly articulating who we have become and who we aspire to be,” Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom said in a statement. ““With this clarity and focus, we can now get on with what we do best: bringing the world within reach for travelers and partners across the globe.”
The stock symbol remains EXPE.
The move came about a month after the Priceline Group’s switch to Booking Holdings as its corporate moniker, although an Expedia spokesperson denied there was a tie-in.
“In fact, the changes have been hinted at in subtle cues by Mark Okerstrom since he took on the CEO role in 2017,” an Expedia Group spokesperson said. “Our new global business focuses on being locally relevant on a global basis, being customer centric and speeding up the pace of execution and innovation — are all about positioning our business for growth. The news here is that these changes are not about a rebrand; it is about our significant and extensive global business evolving, focusing and aligning on our purpose to bring the world within reach.”
Unlike Booking Holdings, which is the largest online travel player, Expedia Group is a full-service travel agency. Expedia counts 17 brands in its portfolio, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Egencia, Orbitz, Travelocity, HomeAway, Trivago, Wotif, and Hotwire, for example. Booking.com, meanwhile, is testing the premise of becoming a full-service agency as it has added flights to its core hotel business, and is piloting vacation packages.
Expedia.com under its various corporate ownership structures, has rolled up numerous brands since its debut in 1996. Expedia Inc. went on an acquisition tear in 2015, for example, spending more than $6 billion. That year Expedia acquired Travelocity ($280 million); Orbitz Worldwide ($1.8 billion); and HomeAway ($3.9 billion). Expedia also took control of a joint venture with AirAsia for $94 million.
It’s hard to say what benefits Expedia would get for the name change given the fact that Wall Street already understands the full scope of its business. The former Priceline Group, now called Booking Holdings, on the other hand, had long chafed at being overly associated with its U.S. Priceline.com brand even though Booking.com generates the vast majority of the group’s overall profits and revenue.
Photo credit: Expedia Inc. changed its name to Expedia Group to capture the global nature of its business. Pictured is its new logo. Expedia