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The Company and its subsidiaries provide travel products and services to leisure and corporate travelers in the United States and abroad.
Expedia Inc. along with its subsidiaries, owns and operates a portfolio of brands, which provides travel related products and services, for leisure and corporate travelers. Its brands include Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Worldwide Travel Exchange, Classic Vacations, Expedia Corporate Travel, eLong, and TripAdvisor. Its operations are spread across United States, UK, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Mexico and other international boundaries.The conjunction with Citi group will enable travelers to earn “Thank You” points on their bookings, which is similar to a reward programme. This initiative will provide Expedia Inc. access across 10 million Citi’s members. Recently the company has forayed in Japan, world’s second largest travel market, through launch of its website Expedia.co.jp, which offers in depth hotel content. It also intends to launch airline ticketing and package travel functions in future. Expedia Inc. plans to enter India by 2007, as the online travel market in India is at a very nascent stage, with very few players, which could drive the growth of Expedia Inc. in the long term.Expedia Corporate Travel has recently launched its new Global Flight Search platform in different languages, offering European customers enhanced flight search and booking facilities. This will help them to expand its global reach.The brand strength of Expedia Inc. provides competitive advantage over less established competitors. Online travel companies enjoy very limited risk as they have little or no inventory risk, which helps them in better pricing control. Expedia Inc. is well positioned to outperform most competitors, with management committed to drive it as the leading travel planner.
Recently, Expedia Inc has entered into a long-term strategic alliance with CruiseShipCenters, one of North America's leading cruise vacation specialists. Building a strong reputation for itself, CruiseShipCenters books more than 20% of the bookings in Canada. Through this partnership, Expedia will broaden its exposure to offline distribution channels. Also CruiseShipCenter’s 100 retail franchise locations and more than 1,500 independent cruise consultants will benefit in the future from the Expedia inventory of non-cruise travel options for customers.The online travel market is crowded, with several players fighting consumer's travel budget pie. Online travel agents (OTAs) like Expedia, negotiate wholesale rates with airlines and hotels, sells at a markup, while pocketing the difference. However, hotels and airlines boosted by an improved economy and improving occupancy rates have begun selling inventory through their own websites, thereby reducing allocations to OTAs.Expedia Private Label has entered into exclusive partnership beginning in 2008, to provide hotel accommodation for the passengers of Europe’s largest low fare airline Ryanair. This five year deal will provide Ryanair’s 50 million passengers a choice of over 20,000 hotels across Europe as per the budget.With near 40% market share of US online leisure bookings, Expedia is almost double the size of its closest competitor. Being the largest OTA, the competitive advantage that Expedia enjoys is its ability to bargain for lower wholesale prices from airlines and hotels. Expedia is also focusing on providing higher margins vacation package which are not easily replicable by competitors. Considering the above factors, the shares of Expedia offer good returns for long-term investors.
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