(Nasdaq: EXPE) today announced plans to extend its industry-
leading services and technology to corporate travel, thus becoming the first
technology-based travel agency to provide the full array of travel services
needed by corporations.
As part of the expansion of its travel offerings to
business customers and corporate travel managers, the company also announced
that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase substantially all of the
assets of Metropolitan Travel, Inc., a closely held Seattle-based corporate
travel agency. Information on Expedia`s corporate travel services is now
available on http://corporate.expedia.com
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is
anticipated to close later this month. Expedia(R) expects the acquisition to
be slightly accretive to earnings, beginning with the third quarter ending
“Expedia has a unique opportunity to utilize our technology expertise to
dramatically improve the corporate travel planning and purchasing process,”
said Richard Barton
, president and chief executive officer of Expedia, Inc.
“With the acquisition of Metropolitan Travel, a premiere organization with
experience servicing these corporate customers, we will truly be able to
empower travel managers and satisfy business travelers.”
Metropolitan will provide a core operation around which Expedia will
develop its dedicated corporate travel technology and services that address
the business travel market. The dedicated technology, expected to launch by
year-end, will utilize Expedia`s proprietary Expert Searching and Pricing
(ESP) platform to give corporate travelers the ease of use, choice and control
of Expedia`s leading travel Website, with thousands of air, hotel and car
rental choices and combinations. In addition, Expedia will give corporate
travel managers dynamic tools with which to manage their employees` travel and
corporate travel policies, backed by a 24-hour corporate travel customer
, senior vice president of corporate travel for Expedia, will
lead the newly formed corporate travel group. “This is an opportune time to
enter the corporate travel market,” said Mr. Bishop. “Small and large
corporations alike are raising concerns about the rising cost of corporate
travel. Meanwhile, their employees are opting for the convenience of online
booking through agencies like Expedia.
“Expedia`s goal is to help businesses reduce their cost of corporate
travel services with easy-to-use, comprehensive selections—all while
receiving high-quality travel management services,” Mr. Bishop continued. “In
order to do that, we will provide a single service and technology solution for
what businesses have historically obtained from separate providers.”
After the acquisition, Metropolitan will continue to provide corporate
travel services to existing and new clients. “Metropolitan Travel has been
successful because of our sharp focus on the quality of service we provide and
because we have been as entrepreneurial as the clients we serve,” said
Patricia Elliott, president of Metropolitan Travel. “Expedia will allow us to
increase the value of services we provide both online and offline in ways we
could never achieve alone.”
Metropolitan, the largest, independent agency operating in the Northwest,
works with premier corporate customers, including Nordstrom Inc., Starbucks
Corp., Avanade Inc., Washington Mutual Inc. and Frank Russell Investment Co.
The company has been providing quality service and support to the corporate
travel industry for 20 years and had more than $150 million in gross bookings
in calendar year 2001.
“As a very satisfied long-term client of Metropolitan, we are excited
about how Expedia`s technical and other resources combined with Metropolitan`s
service will improve our ability to provide a great experience for our
travelers as well as increase our ability to manage our travel budget,” said
Ava Ohashi, travel manager at Nordstrom.
Ms. Elliott will remain president of Metropolitan, which will become a
wholly owned operation of Expedia, reporting to Mr. Bishop. Ben Kenagy will
continue as vice president of Metropolitan Travel.
Related stories on ITN:
(17/06/2002) Expedia.com Awarded as “Best Overall Travel Site”
(27/03/2002) New Offering from Expedia
(06/03/2002) New Web Marketing Technology from Expedia.