Expedia Corporate Travel is rebranding itself. From today, it will be called Egencia, an Expedia Inc company. Speaking exclusively with Business Traveller, Expedia’s UK vice-president Christophe Peymirat said: “Expedia is a very strong brand and has been very helpful in aiding the strong growth we have experienced in the last five years, but we are now at a stage where we need to be clearly defined as a standalone business.”
Peymirat said that the new name would bring “clarification and an identification business. We keep the link, so we are an Expedia Inc company, but we are now recognisably standalone”.
Egencia is the number-one online corporate travel agency and the fifth-largest travel management company in the world. In 2007, it booked in excess of US$1.3 billion dollars of gross bookings globally, with both bookings and revenue ahead of overall growth for Expedia Inc. In 2008, “other” bookings and revenue (primarily Expedia Corporate Travel and the Expedia Inc Asia-Pacific operations) increased 31 per cent and 38 per cent respectively for the first quarter of 2008 compared with the first quarter of 2007.
The rebranding does not signify any change of ownership structure or management, with Jean-Pierre Remy remaining as president, Rob Greyber as senior vice-president North America, Christophe Pingard as senior vice-president Europe, and Pam Keenan Fritz as vice-president of Asia-Pacific and global partnerships. In 2007, Expedia opened offices in Italy, Spain and China, although it does not yet have a presence in Africa or the Middle East.
Peyrimat said that, while the next 12 to 18 months would be challenging for the travel industry, for companies such as Egencia this represented an opportunity. He said: “As far as the UK is concerned, companies will be looking more and more for solutions for controlling and monitoring their spend to generate savings, and that’s a positive thing from our point of view.”
Peyrimat would not be drawn on whether he thought there might be further acquisitions, but did say that “historically, in travel and other industries, when you have a fragmented market, when the economic conditions are not positive, larger companies buy smaller companies”.
In the UK, Egencia works with companies with a spend on travel of around the £100,000 mark, up to the largest accounts of over £10 million.
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Report by Tom Otley