online travel company Expedia.com, which set up its office in Gurgaon in 2007, has formally announced its entry in India with the launch of its Indian site, www.Expedia.co.in.
With the launch of the site, Expedia is mainly targeting consumers who are looking at travel abroad. Currently, the site only offers hotel bookings and travel packages through its inventory of 80,000 hotels worldwide. However, its US site (www.Expedia.com) offers bookings for flights, cars, cruises and hotels as well. Apart from bookings, the site also allows consumers to access travel tools, including currency converter, maps and weather forecasts.
The online travel market in India is expected to reach a value of $2 billion in 2008 and it is estimated that the number of outbound travellers will reach 10 million as compared to six million inbound travellers by 2008. The number of domestic travellers is projected to be around 400 million. Major players in the Indian online travel market are Makemytrip.com, Yatra.com, Travelguru.com and Cleartrip.com, and most of them offer hotel, flight and rail bookings, apart from travel packages.
On building its brand in the Indian market, Dhall says, "Expedia has plans to launch both online and offline marketing campaigns. We will use search and display marketing, but we are still evaluating the option of using TV, radio and print."
Expedia was founded more than 10 years ago and it operates in around 17 countries. In 2006, it won a Webby Award in the Best in Travel Websites category. The Webby awards are international awards honouring excellence on the Internet and have been presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences since 1996.