On its surface, Expedia is doing brilliantly in Europe. Since crossing the pond from its Seattle, Washington headquarters in 1998, the former Microsoft asset has built up a strong brand and has successfully shouldered its way into the heavily guarded corporate market in 2004.
But underneath this veneer of success is the reality that Expedia still generates 90% of its revenues from the US.
But new mobile technology currently under development by Expedia may reverse its fortune. Today’s mobile web technology is archaic, more akin to 1980s videogames than present-day technologies available on desktops.
Expedia is aiming to change this, and will later this year introduce a product that gives travellers the ability to access content from anywhere.
It will use multiple devices, including mobile phones and PDAs, although, technically speaking, travellers can access Expedia from their mobile or BlackBerry today, the web pages are slow to load because they are not designed for a smaller interface.
The new design will initially be aimed at the corporate travel market, but a successful launch in the consumer sector could give Expedia the boost its need to take market leading position in Europe.
Meanwhile, Expedia is also keeping to its aggressive European growth strategy. Expedia’s corporate travel division recently expanded into Germany and company executives confirm they will open operations in several new countries this year, including Italy, Spain, France, and two Nordic nations.