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Expedia annual partner conference gets underway in Las Vegas

The annual Expedia Partner Conference began in earnest in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas today.

More than 3,700 hotel, air and activity partners of the travel booking website group congregated in the hotel’s Convention Centre for a day of keynote speeches from bosses of the Expedia Inc family of companies, including the Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia itself.

The audience, which included Hotel Owner editor, Michael Northcott, was treated to a performance from music and visual act The Blue Man Group before speeches got underway.

Revelations from the Expedia top brass about its business performance included the following:

  • 174 million room nights will be sold by the end of the year
  • 6 room nights per second are sold through Expedia
  • The website filled more than 88,000 Boeing 747s over the course of 2014
  • It handled 44 million phone calls in 36 different languages
  • It will have spent around $650m on technology and innovation in 2014
  • It is spending $2.6 billion on sales and marketing

A key idea that emerged from the majority of morning speeches was the notion of the growth of mobile as a source of sales. Just two years ago, 75% of site searches by visitors were conducted on desktop PCs, a number which has fallen to around 48% as mobile has soared in popularity.

Another speech, from the CEO of Chinese travel site eLong, revealed that China has the largest domestic travel market in the world, and also has the highest number of outbound travellers, numbering some 100 million trips per year.

CORRECTION 16/12/14: The original version of this article quoted 75% of “bookings” through Expedia were on desktop PCs. This should have read “searches”.

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