Expedia CEO: TripAdvisor spin off ‘on track’ and why Google is a threat

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi — speaking at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference in Las Vegas this week — said that the spin off of TripAdvisor is on track to be completed by the end of the year. The company announced in April its intentions of spinning off TripAdvisor, and Khosrowshahi stressed this week that the deal would not require additional cash.

TripAdvisor, which attracts more than 50 million visitors per month for hotel and travel reviews, has been run very much as an independent entity, he said.

In other remarks, Khosrowshahi also addressed the threat of Google both through its Google Places offering and through its recent purchase of Zagat.

He noted that there’s hasn’t been any material impact.

The most material effect of Places on TripAdvisor has been pushing down the organic search travel, organic search results in a page so that, in general, the amount of traffic that Google is sending on an organic basis to all of its partners have gone down. And TripAdvisor tends to index very high on the organic search results. Those effects started hitting TripAdvisor in Q4 of last year and should end virtually in Q4 of this year. But we haven’t seen any material changes as far as the trends and how much Google is featuring Places, etc.

As to Google’s purchase of Zagat, Khosrowshahi noted:

Yes, Zagat is really a restaurant brand. And it’s a restaurant brand in large markets. TripAdvisor is a tail business. It’s an amalgamation of lots and lots of clicks and hotels everywhere in the world on a global basis. So as far as Google’s acquisition of Zagat, it tells me a couple of things. One is they’re serious about the space, about the local space, and we take them very seriously. And two, that they felt that they needed a jump-start on acquiring content and that they were short on content, and maybe their own network effect wasn’t enough to create content. Again, that’s speculation on my part, but it’s a good brand….

Full remarks here.


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