At this year's Expedia Partner Conference, Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom told attending hoteliers that the increase of Expedia's vacation rental business is not a threat to them. Okerstrom encouraged the attendees to "step up their game."
Expedia users searching for vacation accommodations will find a mix of hotel and HomeAway results (Expedia acquired HomeAway three years ago). HomeAway may have an edge in swaying consumers booking a family vacation.
"Do you know how hard it is, as a family of four, to book connecting hotel rooms online?" Okerstrom said. "It's impossible. Hotels have the inventory, but the data is just not there. I think they need to wake up and actually make that available and be competitive for families.
"I also think there are opportunities for people who want a kitchen or a little more room. Our [hotel] chain partners have some incredible product, and we need to showcase that and advertise that more effectively."
Nevertheless, vacation rentals are just "one small piece" of Expedia's business, Okerstrom said. Vacation rentals won't be a fit for every customer.
"You are not going to stay in an alternative accommodation every time you go somewhere," he said. "But if we're going to be customer-centric, then we need to have everything."
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