Speed and innovation usually characterize successful and growing companies, but when it comes to the prospect of starting to offer HomeAway’s vacation rentals on Expedia.com, Expedia Inc. is noncommittal and taking it all extremely slow and easy.
The two parties announced a partnership last October, and today, during Expedia Inc.’s fourth quarter earnings call, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company has just started to experiment with HomeAway’s vacation rentals, but won’t gather enough data about it until the second half of 2014.
Expedia will study how adding vacation rentals to its accommodation mix impacts conversions, and will expand the offering to the extent that consumers show they are interested, Khosrowshahi said.
Khosrowshahi said the company’s emphasis will continue to be in growing its hotel business, although it is optimistic about the HomeAway partnership, which is in the early stages of testing.
“But it is really too soon to call” how the partnership will take shape, Khosrowshahi said.
Expedia clearly sees hotels as where its biggest margins are. And vacation homes certainly have far fewer rooms than hotels.
Still, Expedia wants to compete with Booking.com, which offers a broad range of lodging offerings, but Expedia is making no commitments at this stage about what its vacation rental offering will look like.
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