By Colleen Isherwood
This year’s 20th Anniversary Expedia Partner Conference, held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas last week, featured entrepreneurial, forward-thinking speakers whose topics ranged far beyond the future of OTAs and hotels into philosophy and, of course, U.S. politics. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the conference.
1. President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi: On the company's 20 years of revolutionizing travel: The first Expedia Partner Conference was held in a parking lot; now we have 4,000 partners attending.
2. Aman Bhutan, president, Brand Expedia: To my one-year-old a magazine is nothing but a broken iPad. .. But I see technology as an opportunity, not a disruptor.
3. Aman Bhutan, president Brand Expedia: [Great technology] happens gradually, then suddenly. Things are not ready for prime time; then you invest a little more… If it’s a winner, suddenly it’s going to grow very quickly. Your have to invest at the opportunity phase.
4. Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den (Canadian): Don’t invest in stuff you understand; invest in stuff you think consumers will buy.
5. Siew Hoon Yeoh founder WIT (Web in Travel) based in
Singapore: Travel giants need to protect little things, like boatmen in Borneo.
6. French professor Peter Connor: Why not monetize front desks by taking deliveries?
7. Expedia CFO Mark Okerstrom (Canadian): Expedia has 5 per cent of global travel and is growing six times as fast as the global average. The company saw $12 million growth year over year, an increase of 29 per cent YOY.
8. Jason Dorsey, The Centre for Generational Kinetics: Technology is only new if you remember the way it was before.
9. Expedia founder Rich Barton’s Wizard of Oz vision of leadership: The Scarecrow was seeking brains and the factory of the future is people’s minds. The Cowardly Lion sought courage, something a leader absolutely must have. The Tin Man wanted a heart. As an organization, it’s important to let people know what you care about. Millennials want you to take positions on things as a mission-driven organization.
10. Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive, Expedia Inc.: Asked who he would prefer as the next president of Expedia — Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama — Diller replied, “I’d sell my shares!”