Expedia spent $2.8 billion on marketing in 2014 (four times its investment in tech)
Pumping in $686 million into developing technology sounds like a princely sum for Expedia Inc – but is a shadow of its marketing outlay.
This marketing spend would have included above-the-line advertising as well as its continued heavy investment in buying keywords in search.
Barring a sudden change in strategy, marketing spend is likely to increase during 2015 as Expedia gets to grips with its acquisition of Wotif in the competitive Asia-Pacific marketplace and takes over full control of Travelocity.
Still, Expedia is talking up its technology investment strategy as it looks to battle against the likes of the Priceline empire (which features the fearsome competition of Booking.com in Europe, Kayak for metasearch in the US and Agoda in Asia-Pacific) and TripAdvisor for search and booking eyeballs.
The company claims it has carried out around 2,000 A/B test programmes over the course of 2014 across the portfolio if consumer-facing brands as well its corporate travel service, Egencia.
Almost the entire portfolio has received some kind of mobile development in the past 12 months, including new apps on Egencia and Hotwire, as well a service specifically for wearable technology such as watches.
Although a figure was not disclosed, considerable investment would have gone into Expedia’s first significant redesign in 12 years which took place in the early part of 2014.
Last year also saw the development of its widely talked about Scratchpad system (first released in December 2013) to allow users to continue their search and shopping across multiple devices.
Isabelle Pinson, senior director of market management in Northern Europe at Expedia, reckons the company has “some of the most talented engineers and designers in the world”.
“In addition to the standout technology launches, we’re constantly making changes to our platforms so the experience is better for travellers and for our partners each time they engage with us.”
NB: Money eye image via Shutterstock.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.