Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Expedia Group Names Julie Whalen as Chief Financial Officer, First Woman There in This Leading Role

2 weeks ago

Expedia Group appointed board member Julie Whalen as the company’s new chief financial officer, replacing Eric Hart, effective September 26.

Whalen, the first female leader at this level at the company, will lead Expedia Group’s global finance organization, and will have a high-profile position, helping to explain the company’s performance during earnings call and conferences. She will remain on the Expedia board as a non-independent member.

Julie Whalen, the new Expedia Group chief financial officer. Source: Expedia Group

Hart, who has been with Expedia Group for more than 13 years, and the company’s chief financial officer since 2019, will stay on for a brief transition period until October 1, and will remain on the supervisory board of Trivago, an Expedia Group brand, as well as on the board of the Global Business Travel Group, where Expedia is an investor.

Expedia Group said Hart will “pursue new opportunities.”

“Mr. Hart’s separation did not result from any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s or Expedia’s operations, policies or practices, including accounting principles and practices,” Expedia Group stated in a financial filing.

Whalen has been chief financial officer of Williams-Sonoma since 2012. Her estimated total compensation, as announced in 2021, was nearly $6 million.

“Ms. Whalen also has been a key proponent of driving the company’s ESG- [Environmental, Social and Governance] related priorities,” Williams-Sonoma said in a financial filing in April.

Whalen was a member of the Expedia Group board’s audit committee since June 2019, and has chaired the committee since 2020.

Hart also had the Expedia Group title chief strategy officer. Whalen does not have that official role.

Travel Agents

Expedia Group Launches New Rewards Program for U.S. Travel Advisors

2 months ago

Expedia Group announced on Thursday it’s launching a new rewards program exclusively for U.S.-based travel advisors in its Travel Agent Affiliate Program (TAAP).

Travel advisors enrolled in the program can earn reward points on eligible bookings on the Expedia TAAP U.S. site. They can redeem points and claim preferred gift cards, track the rewards points balance at any time, and be eligible for future reward earning opportunities through promotions. In addition, advisors earn one reward point for every dollar spent on lodging, with the points available to be redeemed one week after the trip is completed.   

“TAAP is a program full of constant innovation and exciting opportunities that are designed to help advisors offer once in a lifetime travel experiences to their clients,” said Expedia Group’s TAAP Director Phoebe Bush.

“Advisors are an integral part of the travel industry ecosystem. We hope that our TAAP exclusive incentives and rewards for U.S. travel agents will help advisors maximize their revenue and enjoy some extra perks for their hard work.”

Online Travel

The Complexity Headache That Expedia CEO Peter Kern Inherited in 1 Slide

4 months ago

Ever wonder about the daunting challenge that Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern inherited from predecessors Dara Khosrowshahi and Mark Okertstrom when Kern took the chief executive spot under Barry Diller in 2020?

The pandemic notwithstanding, Expedia Group captured its infrastructure issues in one slide as part of an investor presentation at Cowen 50th Anniversary Technology, Media & Telecom Conference Wednesday.

Many of the Group’s major brands, from Expedia to Hotels.com and Vrbo, had their own product, marketing and tech teams who were working at cross-purposes and competing against each other.

Competition can light a fire under a marketing group, for example, but did it make sense for Expedia and Hotels.com to bid against one another in Google search, and likely drive up costs?

Apparently not.

Elsewhere in the presentation Expedia noted that before it undertook its drive to simplify things it had more than 10 competing brands, five loyalty programs, more than 10 checkout experiences, and “siloed data lakes.”

In the interim, Expedia Group has made a splash consolidating many of these teams, and shedding brands including Egencia, SilverRail, Alice, Classic Vacations, and Expedia Local Expert. Not to mention BodyBuilding.com, which Expedia acquired when it bought Liberty Expedia Holdings.

The goal is “to build a single tech platform,” the presentation said.

We’ve heard Expedia talk of building a solitary tech platform for many years under prior regimes, but it seemingly never happened.

Online Travel

Expedia CEO’s Total Compensation Pegged at $296 Million for 2021

5 months ago

Expedia Group Vice Chairman and CEO Peter Kern’s 2021 total compensation was $296 million.

That includes $157 million in stock awards and $137 million in option awards. His salary was around $850,000. The stock and option awards represent the fair value at the grant date, and won’t necessarily be the actual value when the awards vest.

Kern’s total compensation in 2021 compared with $53.9 million for Booking Holdings’ Glenn Fogel, $7.67 million for Tripadvisor’s Steve Kaufer, and $132,000 for Airbnb’s Brian Chesky.

Chesky had a nice pay day — on paper like Kern’s — for 2020, namely $120 million, and Kaufer’s total compensation announced in 2013 was $39 million.

Kern became Expedia Group CEO during the early days of the pandemic in April 2020. He has been vice chairman since 2018, and a board member since 2005.

When it comes to the ratio of the CEO’s salary to median employee compensation, excluding the CEO’s compensation, at each company, Expedia’s was 2,897 to 1; Booking’s was 931 to 1; Tripadvisor’s was 76 to 1; and Airbnb’s was .65 to 1.

The total compensation amounts were included in proxy statements last month.

Online Travel CEO Compensation 2021

CEOCompanyTotal CompensationRatio
Peter KernExpedia$296,000,0002,897 to 1
Glenn FogelBooking Holdings$53,900,000931 to 1
Stephen KauferTripadvisor$7,670,00076 to 1
Brian CheskyAirbnb$132,000.65 to 1

Online Travel

Phew! Travel Booking Windows Are Increasing Again

5 months ago

Fascinating data point from Expedia Group Media Solutions in its latest Q1 Travel Trend Report: the booking windows which had shrunk dramatically over the last two years of the pandemic uncertainty and low traveler confidence, is now coming back up, based on data from all across the Expedia network and surveys. This is a welcome sign of travel industry and more certainty of business forecasts.

“Growing traveler confidence contributed to lengthening search windows in Q1, with global share of searches in the 180+ day search window increasing 190% and the 0- to 21–day search window decreasing 15% quarter-over-quarter.

Regionally, shorter search window share in APAC and LATAM held steady between Q4 2021 and Q1 2022, while EMEA and NORAM travelers searched further out, with the 91- to 180–day search window increasing 140% and 60%, respectively. The lengthening search windows in these regions is another indicator that summer travel demand in the Northern Hemisphere may surge in 2022.”

Other data points on the booking windows:

  • In Q1, 60% of global domestic searches fell within the 0- to 30– day window, a 10% decrease compared to Q4, while the share of searches in 91- to 180–day window increased 80% quarter- over-quarter.
  • Global international search share for the 91- to 180+ day window increased 35% quarter over quarter, with the 91- to 180–day window seeing the largest gains.

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