Expedia CEO: Google is biggest competitor, but we’re not calling for regulation
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Expedia CEO: Google is biggest competitor, but we’re not calling for regulation

According to top brass at online travel giant Expedia, the next name to disrupt its industry could be Google. That said, the company’s CEO, Mark Okerstrom, has recently told investors that he isn’t pushing for the Silicon Valley titan to be regulated. That’s because he thinks Expedia – although challenged – has what it takes to protect its position.

Expedia’s share price appreciated by 3% in the last five days of 2018

graph 02 expedia

Source: Yahoo Finance

Speaking at Expedia’s Explore ’18 conference in Las Vegas, Okerstrom told listeners that “the internet has been littered with the bodies of companies put out of business by Google.” It’s not the first time that Expedia’s senior team has commented on Google’s creep into the online travel space. In October, the group’s chairman and senior executive, Barry Diller, said: “we spend $3.5 billion a year on Google advertising,” and noted that the days of free search engine traffic were behind it: “they now say ‘No, you have to pay for everything, and we’re going to compete with you directly in that travel business to offer travel services that will essentially disintermediate you.”

However, while Diller has previously implied that he would support regulatory action imposed on Google, Okerstrom has fallen short of calling for such activity. Instead, he says, the answer is simple: outcompete Google with better products and better ways to serve consumers. One example of this type of evolution is the modification of algorithms to answer common voice queries about destinations (such as “does this resort have a pool”).

Okerstrom was resolute that Expedia won’t be pushing for regulation, and described Google as a “great partner”. However, he said “we have to be very watchful about what they are doing.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds both Expedia and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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