“We’ll play in metasearch and we think metasearch will be around forever,” Khosrowshahi told attendees at Citi’s 20th Annual Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco Jan. 5.
At the advent of travel metasearch several years ago, the channel was widely seen as a supplier medium that might bring the OTAs to their knees, but much has changed since then.
Khosrowshahi says metasearch is not one of Expedia’s top 3 channels, but it’s an important one.
And, he doesn’t view metasearch as competition, although he’d rather, of course, get direct traffic.
Expedia’s TripAdvisor launched flight metasearch early in 2009, and Khosrowshahi says he forsees “quite significant growth” from the metasearch channel — not just from TripAdvisor’s flight metasearch — in 2010 and 2011.
Khosrowshahi says metasearch has been a “fairly efficient” channel for Expedia, and the OTA will take advantage of it, partipating up to the level that the company’s efficiency metrics allow.
When Expedia eliminated air booking fees and other OTAs followed, there was a school of thought that flight metasearch was dead because there now was parity with airline websites and not much differentiation.