Phocuswright 2022: Expedia expects continued B2B growth as Open World rolls out

Phocuswright 2022: Expedia expects continued B2B growth as Open World rolls out

Group chief executive Peter Kern told this week's conference that it wants the whole industry to benefit from the new technology it is building at scale

Growth in Expedia’s B2B business is expected to outpace B2C as the global OTA extends its technology platform to third-party partners. 

Peter Kern, Expedia Group vide president chief executive, told this week’s Phocuswright conference in Phoenix, Arizona, that partners will start to see the capabilities of its Open World platform next year. 

Expedia announced at its annual partners conference in Las Vegas in May that it plans to make more of its in-house technology available to the wider travel ecosystem. 

“This year was about setting Open World up. We are building on that and 2023 will be an important year as we trial these capabilities and get them to a scale where we can roll them out to partners. We are building it for ourselves anyway.”

Expedia is consolidating its technology to bring all brands and systems on to a single platform that will be the core of the entire business.

Kern said what technologies Expedia builds is done “with the idea that we can potentially externalise them”.

“No one in the supply business, no smaller player, can build technology at the scale we can,” Kern said. “We want the entire industry to benefit from that, not just us.”

Offering technology solutions to supplier partners is not new for Expedia, especially its hotel partners, but there has been a new focus on B2B having placed its range of solution in the 

Expedia for Business division header up by London based president Ariane Gorin.

Kern told Phocuswright delegates that he believes it’s brands can continue to differentiate and demonstrate incremental value in the B2C space but he added:

“Our B2B business is a great business, it’s growing fast and we think it will continue to grow faster than B2C. B2B is on an excellent growth trajectory as is B2C as we rebuild our technology. We think both will be big.”

Expedia is due to launch its new mukti-brand loyalty programme One Key next year for its customers and it will also start sorting search results based on customer feedback about the experience. 

It is hoped these two initiatives will not only help customers to make more informed choices but will encourage suppliers to invest in their experience and drive more loyal and long-term customers. 

“Most people do not travel all the time,” said Kern. “Eight three percent of people actually never get a reward from a reward programme because they don’t travel enough.

“We can give all those customers something to use across any product, anything that has real value that they can take advantage of. 

“If that helps them to travel again, even to a different hotel or with a different airline, that’s another shot at turning them into long term customers.

“We are satisfying that need and we are subsidising that out of own pocket, we are basically paying to put more travellers into your hotel or on to your plane. We think it’s all additive.”