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The Travel Calm Before the Storm: Expedia CEO

Thursday, 7 Feb 2013 | 11:36 AM ET
Expedia CEO Getting on Board with Bookings
Dara Khosrowshahi, President & CEO of Expedia, discusses his company's strong fourth quarter numbers and where he sees the biggest growth areas.

Call it the calm before the storm. Travelers are taking warnings for the Northeast of a major winter storm in stride if call volumes to travel site Expedia are any indication.

So far, "we haven't seen any reaction" CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Thursday morning told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

Up to 2 feet of snow is predicted for New England. The snow is expected to start Friday morning, with the heaviest amounts Friday night and into Saturday as the storm moves past New England and upstate New York, the National Weather Service said.

A blizzard watch for parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island said travel may become nearly impossible because of high winds and blowing snow. A coastal flooding watch also is in effect for some shore communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York's Long Island.


In a situation like this, Expedia monitors weather forecasts and gives its customers additional information and alerts the keep them up-to-date, but call volumes and wait times are normal, Khosrowshahi said.

(Read More: Northeast US Braces for Another Snowmageddon)

On the business, Khosrowshahi said its international volume is growing much faster than domestic, with the strongest growth in the Asia-Pacific region. However, he said, growth comes with a short-term caveat.

"Chinese consumers don't book hotel rooms that are as expensive as U.S. consumers. As a result, the average price of hotel rooms booked comes down," he said. "Near term, this can cause some financial pain, but 10 years from now the success of our business is going to be done in those emerging markets, so we're more than willing to make those near-term investments."

"We look forward to the day the Chinese consumer starts booking more expensive hotel rooms, and we think that's going to happen," he said.

"We run our business based on making investments for the long term, and you see the results," he said, pointing to growth in key metrics of the business.

On Tuesday, Expedia reported earnings of $0.63 per share, up 9 percent from 2011. Revenue grew to $974.9 million from $787.1 million from a year earlier, an increase of 24 percent.

The company also reported an increase in gross bookings of 19 percent, driven by a 33 percent increase in hotel room nights booked.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

— By CNBC's Paul Toscano. Follow him on Twitter and get the latest stories from Squawk on the Street @ToscanoPaul

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