Expedia announced last week that it purchased Wotif Group, a family of travel-booking sites based in Australia, for $612 million and gained access to more than 29,000 bookable properties primarily in the Asia-Pacific region. The deal was made official on Monday, and both businesses are continuing as usual until a long-term strategy for Wotif is finalized.
Wotif launched in 2000 with an office in Brisbane. The company also has offices in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
“By aligning ourselves with a powerful global leader in online travel, we have taken a vital strategic step forward in our effort to revitalize the iconic brands of the Wotif Group. We simply couldn’t ask for a better partner than Expedia, Inc.,” Wotif CEO Scott Blume said in a statement.
Expedia is already one of the world’s largest online booking services, with more than $39 billion in gross bookings in 2013. The brand operates more than 150 travel booking sites around the world and more than 260,000 bookable properties.
Third quarter bookings were up 29 percent year-over-year, and room bookings were up 24 percent year-over-year. The company recently was named at the top of the 2014 Power List by Travel Weekly, notably ahead of Priceline, American Express, and Orbitz.
The company announced a new feature this week in offering airline branded fares for 2015. More airlines are moving away from flat prices to offering different features to the airline ticket, such as flexible change, refund policies, baggage inclusion, and seat selection. Beginning in 2015, Expedia shoppers will be able to see those options during the ticket-selection process.
“The challenge with branded fares when customers see it at scale across multiple airlines will be ensuring they can make heads or tails of the increasing number of competitive offers,” Greg Schulze, Expedia’s senior vice president of Global Tour & Transport, said in a statement. “Instead of choosing from a few dozen flights that suit your needs from point A to point B with the times and airports you want, you’ll now see a whole set of branded fares on top of that.”
Following Monday’s announcement, Expedia’s stock perked up, gaining a few points from Monday’s close at $86.94 to $88.37 at Tuesday’s close. The gains have since subtracted, with the stock ending at $86.08 at close on Thursday.
The dip in stock might have something to do with internet-shopping heavyweight Amazon.com dipping its toe into the pool of online travel booking. A report from Skift posted Thursday says Amazon is curating a selection of hotels within a few hours’ drive of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Amazon is reported to be looking into hotel bookings only, and travelers will need to purchase plane tickets and rental cars elsewhere.