Expedia VP talks about the Japanese market from home sharing to overseas travel

Expedia Senior Vice President Greg Schulze said at an interview with Travel Voice in WIT Japan 2016 that Japan became a top destination globally. As the inbound travel market of Japan grows, Expedia expands its business scale in Japan. In 2015, bookings of accommodation in Japan were up 70% year on year globally, and as far as Asia is concerned, the growth rate was 100%. “The growth is faster than we expected. Bookings have increased no only for Tokyo or Osaka but also local areas,” Schulze said.

In late May 2016, an Expedia delegation with 40 senior executives visited Japan to inspect the market. Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia CEO, emphasized at that time that Japan is an important market for Expedia in APAC. Expedia has extended its local offices in Japan to six cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Naha and Sapporo) to focus on an increase in inventories particularly in local areas.

Schulze mentioned ryokan that is getting popular among international travelers: “Ryokan is a unique lodging experience. It is necessary for us to make efforts to deepen understandings of its uniqueness for international visitors.” For that, Expedia is trying to enrich the contents with movies or photos to introduce not only properties but also their local cultures. “We have a role to inspire travelers,” Schulze added.

Schulze also talked about the overseas travel market of Japan. “The market is diversified. Many Japanese travelers are looking for minor destinations to meet their adventure spirits,” he said. Another noteworthy trend is to increase online bookings, though the ratio is still lower than that in other major markets. Expedia is offering valuable products to cope with the change.”

HomeAway, an Expedia group member for home sharing, operates its platform in Japanese. Schulze revealed that home sharing is already a $100 billion market in the world and is growing further in the future. The Japanese government has a plan to make a new rule for home sharing maybe next spring. “International visitors to Japan are seeking a variety of lodging experiences. HomeAway is one of options for them,” Schulze said. “We also expects our group companies including HomeAway can create a synergy effect in booking travel.”

In the Japanese market, Expedia is focusing on B2B in addition to B2C, as Schulze said that Expedia’s inventories of more than 400 airlines and more than 300,000 hotels or more than 450 million visitors a month benefit not only consumers but also offline travel companies.

In Japanese

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