By Marco Tagliatti
Vice President of Lodging for Latin America and the Caribbean
Expedia Lodging Partner Services
2012 is a time of unique opportunities. Considering the complexity of the international financial environment and the impact that it may have on consumer behavior, this year has already outlined some particular characteristics that the travel industry should be taking into consideration as we evaluate opportunities for the year 2012.
As a global group with websites in more than 60 countries, the Expedia, Inc. group has been able to help hotels reach emerging markets where demand for travel is growing at an increased clip, compared to the more mature online travel markets.
Expedia is a key ally to reach customers beyond the traditional, established markets. When it comes to venturing into a new market, hotels that work with Expedia experience the benefits of increased access and visibility to a broader audience in order to effectively achieve a strong awareness for their properties among today’s emerging crop of international travelers.
Because Expedia is a global group operating multiple travel brands, hotels that partner with the company have the possibility to obtain unparalleled visibility on websites all over the world, including Expedia-branded sites in 30 countries; Hotels.com-branded sites in more than 60 countries; Egencia corporate travel sites in more than 50 countries; and on the websites of more than ten thousand active affiliates through Expedia Affiliate Network.
Expedia has intensified its efforts in growing demand for the Caribbean among travelers from non-traditional markets for the region, while maintaining and reinforcing demand for the destination in the top producing countries. And the diversification strategy is paying off.
Travel demand to the Caribbean on all of the Expedia, Inc. group sites worldwide increased more than 20 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the previous year. The majority of demand for travel into the region is coming from international consumers in the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil and France.
Nevertheless, when looking at bookings in the second quarter of 2012 across all of the Expedia, Inc. group brands, the top five countries with fastest-growing demand for travel to the Caribbean are:
• Finland, with travel demand to the Caribbean up 170% over the previous year across all of the Expedia, Inc. group sites;
• Australia, with travel demand up 50%
• Brazil, with travel demand up more than 40%
• Switzerland and Norway, with travel demand up more than 30%
International demand presents a huge and growing opportunity for hotels in the Caribbean to attract guests from around the world, and 2012 is the perfect time for these properties to implement a more robust strategy for targeting travelers outside of the region and focus where the growth is. At Expedia we are confident about the results we can deliver to our hotel partners by helping them to effectively use Expedia’s various marketing tools and local expertise to capture a new global audience of travelers.
Marco Tagliatti serves as Vice President of Lodging for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Expedia Inc. group; he oversees Expedia’s supply strategy in Latin America and leads the team responsible for managing Expedia's relationships with hotel partners.