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Online travel agent Expedia aims to double hotel listings in Japan

News Desk

Kyodo News

Tokyo  /  Wed, May 9, 2018  /  03:38 pm
Online travel agent Expedia aims to double hotel listings in Japan

In April, Expedia signed an agreement to promote tourism with Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan and is looking for more partners, he said. (Shutterstock/File)

The chief executive officer of Expedia Group Inc. said Tuesday the U.S. online travel company is aiming to double Japanese hotels listings on its website to 22,000 ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The company could also offer Japanese hotel operators "artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to suggest ways that hotels can make their products more attractive to customers" such as pricing recommendations, Mark Okerstrom said in an interview with Kyodo News.

Okerstrom said Japanese hotels could use a new service called Rev + launched last year that uses real-time customer demand data and competitive pricing information to help hotels set prices more flexibly.

With the company operating websites in over 75 countries and gross bookings of nearly $90 billion handled last year, the top executive sees a growing business opportunity in Japan.

The world's third-largest economy has seen record levels of foreign visitors in recent years. The government is seeking to increase the number of inbound tourists from over 28 million in 2017 to 40 million in 2020 when the Tokyo Games will be held.

Read also: Imperial Palace to introduce guided tours in English from May

"We will be increasingly focused on Japan" ahead of the Olympics, Okerstrom said. "I would expect that in the next two to three years, our business into Japan will be in the multiple billions of dollars."

The CEO said he wants to help more local governments in Japan promote their tourist attractions and "drive more international travelers into Japan not only to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto but to other regions."

"In a country like Japan, we ensure that we have the full breadths of all travel products, airlines, hotels, car rentals, alternative accommodation," he said.

In April, Expedia signed an agreement to promote tourism with Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan and is looking for more partners, he said.

Expedia will continue to invest in research and development for voice-controlled personal assistant, virtual reality and artificial intelligence technology to offer more customized travel services, the CEO said.

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