Opodo-eDreams-GoVoyages powerhouse Odigeo plots next move, eyes startups and full service
Europe’s newest online travel giant has a new name and is setting itself a rapid plan to grow geographically as well as reach beyond its current guise as a hotel and air ticket seller.
The name will not be used in any consumer-facing marketing but is the official front for the group (including TravelLink) following a plan by AXA Private Equity and Permira Fund to bring the OTAs together into a single corporate entity, claiming the quartet is now one of the biggest players in online travel in Europe.
With heavyweight backing, Odigeo is now looking at ways boosting existing services and reach into new markets, CEO Javier Pérez-Tenessa (previously the co-founder of eDreams) says.
In the US this week at the PhoCusWright conference in Florida, executives were eyeing some of the new businesses and ideas around social, localisation of services and mobile (the so-called SoLoMo), in what they say are plans to “enhance products and customer experience” beyond the traditional OTA model.
The organisation says developing such services in-house “does not make sense”, so is looking to partner or acquire new technology or businesses.
Areas under consideration include developing trip planning tools to bolt onto existing search tools and mobile services, allowing it to grow its presence “pre and post transaction”.
Travel itinerary management is also a service the company would like to incorporate across the portfolio of OTAs.
The combined OTAs took around Euro 3.5 billion worth of bookings last year, primarily from having strong positions in France and Spain for air ticketing and beds.
The company has ambitious targets, claiming it wants to become market leader in every country it operates and clearly eyeing companies from outside Europe such as Expedia and the Priceline-owned Booking.com that have large footprints in a number of countries across the continent.
Although Odigeo would face strong competition in the US from the same companies, Pérez-Tenessa says it will look to try and make an in-road into the market, although it sees Asia and Latin America as the next major opportunities elsewhere around the world.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.