Expedia is beating the drum that Google is a serious threat to its business — if not an existential one.
Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom made that case for the Bellevue, Wash.-based travel company again on Thursday. “The internet has been littered with the bodies of companies put out of business by Google,” Okerstrom was quoted as saying during a news media briefing at Expedia’s Explore ’18 conference in Las Vegas.
The travel site Skift, in reporting the remarks, noted Okerstrom said the key advantage Google has is how consumers turn to its search engine for many things, and how prominent the search engine is.
It’s a concern that’s come up before. In October, Barry Diller, who serves as chairman and senior executive of Expedia Group, called for regulation of Google.
“We spend $3.5 billion a year on Google advertising,” Diller said at the time. While, Diller said, at one point some of the Google traffic came for free, “they now say, ‘No, you have to pay for everything, and we’re going to compete with you directly in that travel business to offer travel services that essentially will disintermediate you.’”
Google has gradually been expanding into the travel market. In 2011, it launched Google Flights, later adding booking capabilities. Google Maps and Search have added hotel details and prices, bypassing more traditional online travel agencies.
Okerstrom didn’t quite go as far as Diller in his Las Vegas remarks, according to the report, with the CEO saying Expedia is not pursuing regulation of Google. But Okerstrom said it is working to thwart Google with better products and better ways to serve consumers.