NEW YORK ( Trefis) -- Expedia ( EXPE), the world's largest online travel agent, posted excellent first quarter results this year led by growth in international markets.
The international markets formed 39% of gross bookings and 40% of total first-quarter revenue, and the company sees more than half of its gross bookings and revenues coming from the international points of sale in the near future. We expect the U.S. -based online travel companies to get a big boost from expanding international opportunities and, as evident from the recent announcements, Expedia seems to be targeting just that. (See our complete analysis for Expedia.) Expedia Ties Up with Thomas Cook India This month, Expedia announced a partnership with Thomas Cook India to provide end-to-end visa services to its customers in the country. Under the partnership, Expedia has waived visa-processing charges for its users booking international packages. In addition, it now enables registered users to access updated visa information and downloadable application forms via a simple interface. Using the new interface, Expedia's customers can view information about visa procedures of the country of travel, documentation, processing time, fees, etc. India is one of the fastest-growing outbound markets with a projected growth rate of 16% and the World Trade Organization projects the market to reach 50 million by 2020, up from the current level of 12 million. We believe that, given Thomas Cook's credibility in the market, the deal puts Expedia in a better position to leverage the projected growth from the Indian market. Localized Philippines Website Putting up a third localized site in the Philippines, Expedia expanded its tie-up with budget airline AirAsia. Over the last year, the AirAsia Expedia partnership launched localized websites in Singapore and Thailand, which are among the top online travel agencies in both these countries. Reinforcing its commitment toward the Asian economy, AirAsia Expedia plans to launch Expedia sites in several other Asian markets to tap the fueling growth. Expedia already has hotel only sites in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and India. The company believes that only 10% of the Philippines' travelers currently book their flights and accommodation online compared to a much higher percent in other countries. This means there is tremendous space to grow in this market.