The recent Expedia Explore ’18 conference in Las Vegas closed with CEOs Dara Khosrowshahi and Mark Okerstrom skipping onto the stage at Aria arm in arm.
It was clear why Khosrowshahi, former CEO of Expedia Group and current CEO of Uber, might be skipping. Brought in to do a corporate cleanup of the frat-boy culture at the Silicon Valley rideshare unicorn, Khosrowshahi has apparently righted the ship to the point that Uber has filed paperwork for a potential $100 billion IPO in 2019.
But while his company might not be quite so high-profile, it was just as easy to understand why Mark Okerstrom, president and CEO of Expedia Group, was skipping across the stage. Okerstrom worked with Khosrowshahi and Expedia chairman Barry Diller for years as CFO before taking over as CEO in August 2017, helping build the 22-year old company into the 800-pound gorilla of online travel agencies (OTAs). Expedia has 23 brands to go with revenues of $10.06 billion in 2017 and 70% of the OTA market. (Booking.com/Priceline has 23 %.)
But despite competition from Google, Facebook and Booking.com/Priceline, Okerstrom believes Expedia Group still has plenty of room to grow because it represents only a small part of the $1.6 trillion dollar travel industry. He says Expedia and its brands have a simple value proposition: “You can book everything in one place—if something goes wrong, we can solve your problem in one place.”
But travel search and booking have become commodified. And it can be hard to tell some of Expedia’s brands apart, save for Travelocity’s ever-present gnome.