08 March 2008

Expedia's formula rolls into India

After nearly 2 years of dancing with different potential partners including the big 4 Indian Portals – (Makemytrip, Yatra, Cleartrip and TravelGuru) Expedia is now rolling out its own site developed in house.

Starting with Hotels, as it has done in all but the first few makets, and a bit of content might not seem to be a big deal in India where there are very few hotels to even book. However Expedia has one advantage over everyone else – it is already the largest booker of Hotels in India thanks to its worldwide clout.

Domestically Expedia will probably do OK as it connects to the local LCC airlines such as Kingfisher. And this is where it will start to get interesting. The LCCs fall in and out of love for the portals on a regular basis. So it is not uncommon for a carrier not to be present in the portal. This is both by design and by accident or problem.

No one is making much money out of the local LCCs. The yields are too low. Expedia has the advantage of better international reach so should have a better shot at the making money on the international flights as does Makemytrip. Much like the airlines themselves there will have to be a shakeout sooner or later. For now – welcome to the zoo that is India Expedia. Good luck. Good luck also figuring out the taxes on hotels….

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