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Expedia CEO: business and leisure becoming ‘blurred’

Dara Khosrowshahi

The lines between business and leisure travel are becoming “increasingly blurred”, according to Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

He believes corporate travellers are “demanding” the same experience they would get as a consumer. This includes more flexibility in “every aspect of the booking process” and use of technology the traveller or buyer would be used to at home.

Khosrowshahi was delivering a keynote address today at the Business Travel Show in London. In his ‘lively’ 20 minute speech Khosrowshahi talked about the future of business travel.

He was speaking as head of Egencia - the corporate travel company of Expedia group and sponsors of the Business Travel Show.

He said despite “healthy” signs of an economic recovery there are still plenty of “mixed signals” as to the direction of the travel industry.

“We are seeing lots of starts and stops and don’t currently have a clear direction,” said Khosrowshahi.

Khosrowshahi said one trend that will continue to dominate the industry is technology. He said this will enable the flexibility so many business travellers and buyers want.

“Business travel demand flexibility and are willing to pay a premium for this,” said Khosrowshahi. “They want to have access to everything they normally have at home or in leisure travel, and this is where the lines are becoming increasingly blurred.

“Almost every traveller will have access to a smart phone or traveller so this has changed how we view and book travel.”

Khosrowshahi also said the behaviour of millennial (19-30 year olds) travellers is having a “huge effect” on the industry.

“In [Expedia’s] recent study we found 56% of millennials extend their business trips into leisure trips so another example where flexibility is key.

“The study also found that 75% of UK travellers consider reviews to be extremely important and 86% are willing to share data in exchange for benefits such as free Wi-Fi or loyalty points.”

To discuss this further head to our dedicated Business Travel Show forum thread