Expedia's blockbuster purchase of Orbitz may not significantly change the competitive landscape for consumers, but it still represents a dramatic move in the larger, ongoing battle for travelers' clicks, dollars and long-term loyalty.
"I don't see this as meaning less choice for consumers," said Douglas Quinby, vice president of research for PhoCusWright. For one thing, he says, Expedia will maintain the Orbitz brand (as well as Travelocity, which the Bellevue, Wash.-based company also bought recently). For another, even with its new acquisitions, Expedia still faces plenty of competition from other industry giants like Priceline, smaller niche players and travel suppliers such as airlines and hotels.
As Quinby explains, the newly enlarged Expedia will essentially control 75 percent of the U.S. online travel agency (OTA) market, based on 2013 figures. However, OTAs handle just 16 percent of total bookings, meaning the company's total is closer to 12 percent, hardly a monopolistic scenario.
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